National Broadcast TV Down 33.4% In April, Cable Networks 24.8% Lower

Confirming information from many other sources, national TV had a tough April, according to Standard Media Index.

Broadcast network TV was down 33.4% to $907 million versus the same month a year ago. National TV cable networks were 24.8% lower to $1.66 billion.

These declines were for both inventory placed in the upfront and markets -- with scatter dropping by 36% and upfront deals 24% lower.

But one smaller national TV platform -- TV syndication -- grew 12.1% to $140.2 million.

Sports programming was the hardest hit in the month due to the cancellation of major sports -- the Final Four games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament ($200 million), as well as the absence of NBA basketball ($240 million), Major League Baseball ($25 million), and NHL hockey ($40 million), and golf ($30 million).

Entertainment programs were down 21.6% for broadcast TV and 17.4% lower on cable TV.  

SMI  says some regularly scheduled programs reported a decline in ad revenue of 50%. The highest ad revenue-producing entertainment program -- "The Masked Singer" on Fox -- generated $26 million in ad dollars.

Some outliers to this downward trend included TV news programming. Broadcast network news programming saw a 5.5% increase, while national cable networks had a 1.6% increase in this programming genre.

SMI data comes from actual invoices from more than 70% of all the largest media-buying groups.

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