U.S. TV Ad Spend: Broadcast Up, Cable Down in December


NEW YORK: In the U.S., television delivered strong ad results in the fourth quarter, with total bookings up 9 percent year on year for the period, according to new Standard Media Index (SMI) data.

Reporting on 80 percent of national ad spend, SMI data showed that broadcast ad spend grew by 1 percent in December 2015 and cable shed 4 percent in a year-on-year comparison. For all of Q4, broadcast rose by 13 percent compared to the same time last year and cable jumped by 8 percent in a YoY comparison.

Looking at the top six broadcast TV networks, ad revenues increased by a combined 2 percent YoY in December. Ad revenues for the same group of networks ended the fourth quarter up by 14 percent, when compared to the same period a year ago. Cable networks ESPN, AMC and Discovery Channel were standout performers in December, all attracting double-digit percentage increases for the month.

The total ad market across all segments rose by 9 percent for the month of December.

“Rising consumer confidence and a positive start to the new broadcast year delivered a strong fourth quarter, which lifted the total market into positive territory following a lackluster first nine months of the year,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

“The overall market results were definitely underpinned by excellent NFL ratings and the new dollars from fantasy leagues. On the downside, we see that soft ratings, especially in cable, combined with challenges around digital’s effectiveness causing concerns and this impacted December’s results.”