July National TV Ads Up 3% Excluding World Cup

Fewer make good spots, says SMI
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National television advertising revenue rose 3% in July excluding revenue from the World Cup.

Cable was a big gainer, increasing 5% compared to a year ago, while broadcast was down at 1%, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

SMI says the 3% increase in revenue is partly the result of a 2% increase in the number of 30-second spots. That’s a bit of a surprise with so much talk from network executives about trying to improve the viewer experience by cutting commercial clutter in order to better compete for viewers with ad-free rivals like Netflix.

SMI says that the amount of make good spots—free ads given to advertisers when ratings fall short of guarantees—was down 16% in July.

“The decline in [make goods] is a positive sign for the industry, indicating that programs are delivering the expected audience figures this month,” said SMI CEO James Fennessy, “National TV declined in the previous three months (April-June), and it’s encouraging to see this trend reverse towards growth.”

In July, spots bought in the upfront market grew 5%, while the scatter market grew 1%.

Revenue from entertainment programming was up 3% with primetime original programming generated 8% more advertising revenue.

'America's Got Talent' (NBC)

Revenue for America's Got Talent was up 42%

Most of the originals were reality shows. Revenue from NBC’s America’s Got Talent was up 42% and ABC’s The Bachelorette was up 35%.

In terms of revenue from originals on the broadcast networks, CBS was up 21%, ABC rose 18% and NBC grew 8%. Fox, which aired the World Cup in July aired fewer original entertainment shows in primetime.

Comcast had the largest market share for entertainment advertising revenue with 19%. Next was Discovery (having acquired Scripps Networks) at 17, followed by Viacom at 14%, Time Warner 11%, CBS 5%.

Cable News boomed in July with the big cable outlets growing 18% from a year ago. MSNBC was up 44%, while Fox News enjoyed the highest prices for spots.

Broadcast news was up as well, with an 8% revenue gain.

Sports revenue increased 20% because of the World Cup. Excluding the soccer tournament, sports revenue was down 6% in July.

Igor Akinfeev of Russia takes a goal kick during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Quarter Final match between Russia and Croatia at Fisht Stadium on July 7, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.

World Cup revenue was down 29%.

Revenue for the World Cup was down 29% from 2014. The English-language broadcasts on Fox and FS1 were down 18% from what ABC and ESPN garnered last time despite an 85% increase in the number of 30-second spots. Telemundo’s revenue was down 36% from what Univision earned. The number of spots fell 26%.

The overall advertising market was up 10% excluding the World Cup.

Digital posted a 17% gain, out of home was up 1%, radio was flat while print was down 18%.

Standard Media Index draws its data from the invoices in the computers at five of the seven major media agency holding companies, which represents about 70% of the national TV market, and model the remaining 30%.