National TV Advertising Market Trims Losses To 9% In June

National TV advertising in June declined 9% to $3.2 billion -- a much smaller decline than the two previous months, according to Standard Media Index.

In April, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic downturn, there was a massive loss of 28%, followed by a 19% decline in May. Overall, the second 
quarter witnessed a 19% decline in the March to June period.

The primary reason for the decline in June was the lack of sports TV content, which led to a 60% drop in ad spending. During this month, there were no NBA Finals, NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals and or regular-season Major League Baseball games.

Sports that did make a comeback in the month of June included PGA golf, soccer, NASCAR, and horse racing, including the Belmont Stakes.



On the plus side, the company there was 2% higher advertising spending in TV news content, due to high interest in the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

SMI says networks aired the lowest amount of original shows in over a decade, saving them for the start of the 2020-21 season this September.

Looking company-wide, Walt Disney (with the NBA Finals delayed) sank 36% in national TV revenues for the month. Fox was 17% lower, and NBCUniversal lost 10%. 

In somewhat better results, ViacomCBS lost 1%, while Discovery was down 2%. Gainers included A+E Networks, up 6%; WarnerMedia, 6% higher  (with CNN boosting ad revenues); and Univision, growing 5%. 

For the second quarter overall, ViacomCBS ended with the biggest national TV ad share of 19%, followed closely by NBCUniversal with 18%. Disney's ad share came in at 15%, followed by Discovery with 12%; WarnerMedia at 10%; Fox with 7%; A+E Networks at 5%; and Univision with 3%.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, major media companies have been hit hard overall, with declines of 20% and higher. In the second quarter, Disney was down 31%, while WarnerMedia declined 26%. ViacomCBS was 22% lower, while NBCUniversal lost 21%. Networks that had smaller losses included Discovery with 15%; Univision at 8%; Fox with 5%; and A+E at 3%.

The biggest individual network loser was ABC, due to the loss of the NBA Finals -- down 51%. Fox lost 39%, while NBC lost 11%. CBS saw an increase of 12%, and was first in advertising revenue for June.

The biggest individual network gainers included CNN, up 86% and Fox News, 55% higher. Fox ranked seventh among all TV networks in national advertising revenues.

The SMI data comes from raw media invoices of six of seven major media holding groups and independents media agencies making up 85% of the national TV market. 

SMI uses actual paid prices on commercial time, and combines it with occurrence data from Nielsen Ad Intel, to model 100% of the U.S. TV marketplace. It covers around 130 national TV networks.

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