Flat TV Ad Growth Expected For Remainder Of 2018

National TV advertising revenues are projected to be flat to slightly up in the fourth quarter -- somewhat of an improvement over previous periods.

Michael Nathanson, media analyst at MoffettNathanson Research, says: “We estimate roughly flat ad growth throughout the rest of 2018. Although if NFL’s solid ratings continue, there could be an upside in the fourth quarter for broadcast, as networks sold ratings ahead of the season.”

Total national domestic TV for the third quarter was up slightly by 0.1% to $8.14 billion, according to MoffettNathanson -- with broadcast networks up 1.1% to $3.1 billion and cable networks groups slipping 0.5% to $5.04 billion.

Although this is a decline from the slight gain in the second quarter, he adds: “It's still a nice rebound from five consecutive quarters of steeper declines prior to that.” This previous estimate excludes Olympics programming.

The Fox broadcast network is estimated to have the best results -- a 22.8% gain to $428 million over the summer, due to the World Cup. NBC, including its TV stations advertising, was down 1.7% to $1.2 billion; CBS was off 1.3% to $742 million; and ABC lost 2% to $706 billion.

NBCUniversal cable networks were 3.5% higher to $815 million, while Discovery -- including Scripps Network Interactive, excluding OWN and Motor Trends -- was up 3% more to $908 million. Fox cable was up 2% to $581 million; AMC Networks was down 1% to $196 million.

WarnerMedia lost 2% to $798 million, while Viacom and Disney were both off 4%, to $899 million and $849 million, respectively.

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