Q4 Scatter Pacing Down 39%

The scatter television advertising market -- the near-term buying of TV media -- is revealing a dramatic national linear TV ad market slowdown in the fourth quarter so far, according to Standard Media Index.

Through October, scatter advertising has dropped 39% versus the same period a year ago. It is also down 56% from 2020.

Overall, including upfront TV buying made this past summer, SMI says there is a 8% drop in national TV advertising to around $4.5 billion compared to a year ago so far. Broadcast TV is down 4%, while cable has declined 12%, and syndication is down 19%.

Economic uncertainty in the U.S. and concerns over a possible recession have caused brand marketers to pull back spending, according to analysts.

Scatter advertising typically totals around 25% to 30% of the $40 billion national TV marketplace.



Upfront TV advertising spending bought this past summer and placed in the fourth quarter, however, has been virtually flat so far -- slipping 0.3%. Direct response advertising is down 15%.

The difference between upfront and scatter market TV placed media in the period is “unprecedented”, says SMI.

Brand advertisers with declines in October include consumer packaged goods, down 4% year-over-year; financial services (off 20%); technology (30%); and entertainment/media (10%).

SMI says the declines in technology and financial services have amounted to around $100 million in media spend each.

Categories that have seen increases in TV spend include: Pharmaceutical (9% higher); general business (11%); and travel (33%).

The slowdown in national linear TV is also 5% below the same period in 2020, the initial pre-pandemic year.

Standard Media Index captures actual invoicing data from all major holding companies and most major independents, representing 95% of national brand ad spend.

2 comments about "Q4 Scatter Pacing Down 39%".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 7, 2022 at 10:07 a.m.

    Wayne, one important factor is CPM pricing. It has grown to the point where broadcast network scatter CPMs are now about as high as streaming CPMs---but with considerably more ad clutter and older viewers. So broadcast network scatter is now competing with streaming---and, often, losing, or seeing portions of its spending going to CTV, AVOD, etc. The solution---an obvious one ----is to be more competitive in scatter  pricing---like lower---and to make up for this---subject to demand---by increasing ad clutter as advertisers don't seem to be paying attention to such details. They are too preoccupied with the "creative" function. 

  2. David Cooperstein from Figurr, December 8, 2022 at 3:41 p.m.

    Could this be due to short-term money going to CTV/streaming instead? 

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