February was a significant month for live TV events that included Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics. Even without a big advertising push for the Olympics, Grammys and Oscars (both awards shows aired outside of their usual February spots), national TV advertising revenue experienced growth of 7.6 percent.
Both cable and broadcast TV ad revenue grew 12 percent in February 2018, Standard Media Index observed. The increase in ad spend for National TV was driven by live sports—mainly, major broadcasters changing their programming as not to compete with the Olympics, said Standard Media Index CEO James Fennessy.
“We saw ESPN’s revenue jump significantly with big increases in the NBA, College Basketball and Sportscenter,” said Fennessy. “Fox Sports 1 also saw big gains in NASCAR and College Basketball.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang earned NBC a whopping $903 million of revenue across TV and digital platforms, approximately 10 percent higher than the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Super Bowl LII generated in-game television revenue of $337 million, a 3.4 percent jump over last year. Total ad revenue for all Super Bowl programming exceeded $400 million across both linear and digital TV.
Cable news experienced growth in ad revenue last month—the “Big Three” cable news networks including FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC increased ad revenue a combined 9.4 percent YoY. The cost for a 30-second prime time spot on the Big Three grew significantly in February, as well. FOX News grew 16 percent, CNN grew 19 percent and MSNBC grew 37 percent YoY.
Across all advertising categories in February, Digital experienced the highest growth at 18 percent YoY, followed by radio at 15 percent. Out-of-home (OOH) also experienced a boost of nine percent, but print dropped 26 percent YoY in February.