Confirming steady U.S. advertising projection growth trends, October’s national advertising market posted strong results -- up 7% over the same period a year ago, according to Standard Media Index.
These gains were largely due to the digital media category, which increased 17%. Another strong platform -- linear TV -- was flat versus the same revenues a year ago. Radio gained 7% for the month, while out-of-home was up 10% and print advertising was steeply down 27%.
Breaking down the national TV category, broadcast networks dropped 7% in media spend, with cable networks 5% higher.
Upfront deals placed in the month grew 2% and scatter fell 4%.
SMI says the decline in broadcast was largely attributable to advertising revenue from fewer NFL games -- totaling 27 versus 31 the year before. In the two-month period from September to October, NFL revenue dropped 19% versus the same two months in 2017, with the average thirty-second commercial unit pricing sinking 6%.Broadcast networks witnessed gains in other areas. Original prime-time programming was up 3% in revenue, and the average thirty-second unit pricing gained 6%.
Against some double-digit viewing percentage declines -- according to some Nielsen data -- broadcast networks saw their overall thirty-second unit average pricing rise 5% over the same month a year ago. There was 6% less makegood inventory offered to marketers in the month.
Cable TV news channels remained strong -- a significant factor in cable’s strong overall results. Six cable news networks -- Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, HLN and Fox Business -- grew a combined 14%. Among all cable news networks, MSNBC was the top performer -- up 30%.
The biggest advertising category across all media platforms -- automotive -- was down 1%, while telecommunications was off 2%; prescription drugs, up 14%; insurance, up 1%; and quick-serve restaurants, 12% higher.
Looking at the major TV categories, automotive was down 9%, while entertainment lost 7%; prescription drugs were up 1%; insurance was up 9%; and quick-serve restaurants were down 3%.
SMI's data comes from five of the seven major media agency groups, gleaned from raw invoices, with actual dollar amounts spent on each ad buy. These agencies make up 70% of the national TV market. SMI models out the remaining 30% using occurrence data.
On a local basis, television stations were packed with political ads, and it's amazing how much money was spent on ads for various propositions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Almost every ad in the local news shows and on the cable news channels was a political ad. (And I'm sure glad those ads are over!)