While national TV linear advertising rose 9% in the first six months of the year versus a year ago, to an estimated $21.4 billion, impressions headed the other direction, down 6.1% to 3.8 trillion, according to iSpot.tv.
Much of the ad dollar gain in the first half of this year was due to the return of big sports TV programming, absent a year ago due the pandemic, according to the research company.
This included the return of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Major League Baseball and the NBA -- content which disappeared after the pandemic began in mid-March 2020.
This year, in part due to some of these events, there was a strong return of ad categories, including: Quick service restaurants/food delivery, up 17% year over year to $1.6 billion; automotive marketers, 41% more to $1.5 billion; and retail rising 21% to $955 million.
A resurgence of the marketplace -- slowly returning to normal after a long nine-month pandemic-disruption period of 2020 -- fueled more advertising growth. iSpot.tv says there was a 25% gain in total creatives airing in the first six months of 2021 versus a year ago -- 57,900 pieces of advertising creative content.
Ad category laggards include wireless communications companies, inching up only 1.9% to $854.1 million; travel, down 17% to $224.8 million; and e-commerce, off 1.7% to $319.8 million.
While highly targeted addressable advertising impressions in the U.S. grew 14.6%, it comprised a tiny share of total impression delivered: 1.6%.
Addressable ad impressions here includes data from set-top-boxes across all major pay TV providers; premium streaming apps, such as Hulu and Peacock; virtual pay TV providers, including Sling TV and YouTube; and streaming set-top boxes/sticks, such as Roku and Amazon Fire Stick.
Overall advertising and impression data for iSpot.tv comes from 23 million smart TV and set-top boxes, analyzing 35,000 brands, and 155 TV networks in 210 DMAs. Data also comes from more the 300 streaming platforms and DSPs.