National TV networks' advertising revenue posted a collective gain of 1.5% in the second quarter to $9.3 billion, according to MoffettNathanson Research. That represents the first positive growth for a quarter (excluding the Olympics) since late 2016.
Michael Nathanson, senior research analyst, said in a note: “Based on the positive commentary we heard on most of the calls, we are forecasting continued strength through the rest of this year. A notable risk would be weakening ratings in the third quarter as seen in the July data.”
Still, he added: “This is the first time in recent memory that advertising has beaten our estimates by this magnitude.”
It's projected that national TV could see a 2% gain in the third quarter and a 3% hike in the fourth quarter.
Broadcast networks were up 4.4% in the second period to $3.5 billion; cable networks were virtually flat -- slipping 0.1% to $5.9 billion.
The Fox broadcast network, thanks to strong World Cup viewing, rose 24% to $459 million. NBC (including TV stations) rose 9.2% to $1.4 billion. ABC was up 3% to $798 million, while CBS was down 9% to 838 million.
NBCUniversal had the best results for its cable networks: 3.5% higher to $938 million.
Time Warner grew 3% to $1.15 billion, while Discovery Inc. (including Scripps Networks Interactive) was up 2.1% to $1.05 billion.
Fox added 1% to $632 million, and AMC Networks was up 0.6% to $247 million. Viacom was down 3.5% to $922 million, while Walt Disney was 6.4% lower to $974 million.