TV Ad Spending Takes Post-Olympic Slide

Cable revenues up for 3Q, according to Kantar Media

Advertising spending on television dropped 6.2% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, when NBC broadcast a record-setting Olympics from London, according to the latest figures from Kantar Media.

Spending on broadcast network TV was down 17.9% in the quarter. Spot TV was down 15% from a year ago, when election spending benefited local stations. Cable was up 5.1%, Spanish-language TV gained 9.9% and syndication was off 0.5%.

For the first three quarters of 2013, television ad revenue was up 0.1%. Broadcast network TV was down 6.1%, spot TV was down 7.7% and syndication was off 0.9%, but those declines were more than offset by 8.5% growth in cable and a 9.6% spike in Spanish language TV.

Kantar says that total ad spending was down 1.9% in third quarter. While some media such as Spanish language magazines and online display ads showed big gains in the quarter those were offset by lower spending on TV and other media, such as network radio.

“Comparisons against Q3 of 2012 are skewed by last year’s record-breaking Summer Olympic and political campaign ad spending, which artificially boosted the market,” Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, said in a statement."Remove that incremental money from the year-ago base and spending in Q3 2013 was up 2.5% to 3.0%. This is more indicative of how the ad market is currently performing.”

For the first nine months of 2013, total ad spending was up 0.7%. In addition to Spanish language TV, the biggest gains came from Spanish language magazines, web display ads and outdoor. Newspapers were down 3.5% and radio was down 4%.

Most of the top 10 advertisers increased their ad spending the first three quarters of 2013.

Procter & Gamble was No. 1 at $2.39 billion, up 15.6%. AT&T was No. 2, up 21.5% to $1.4 billion. Comcast’s spending fell 8.6% to $1.26 billion.

Rounding out the top 10 were General Motors, up 3.7% to $1.2 billion; L’Oreal, up 10.9% to $1.16 billion; Toyota, down 1% to $920 million; Time Warner, up 4.7% to $878 million; Berkshire Hathaway, up 3.3% to $868 million; Verizon, down 15.4% to $865 million and Pfizer, up 31.4% to $662.6 million.