The national advertising marketing experienced modest growth for the month of October, according to data provided by Standard Media Index (SMI). While digital continues to lead in terms of ad spend, TV ad revenue was dragged down by the NFL.
SMI reports that national advertising grew seven percent YoY in October. Unsurprisingly, digital was the strongest performer with growth of 17 percent, followed by out-of-home at 10 percent. Marketers invested in radio ads in October at a growth rate of seven percent while print continued its downward slope in terms of popularity, dropping 27 percent YoY.
NFL Losses Drag TV Ad Growth
National Television ad revenue was flat in October despite single-digit increases in cable and primetime spots and a drop in make-goods.
The reason? Live sporting events experienced a decline in television revenue last month. The NFL had 27 games in October compared to 31 games in October 2017, which didn’t help matters, either. NFL revenue fell 19 percent and the number of 30-second commercial spots fell six percent.
“The effects of the lower audiences last year are spilling into this season, as NFL revenue is down,” said James Fennessy, CEO of Standard Media Index. “Nevertheless, as the market reports improving viewership, we will see how these trends change over the remaining months of the season.”
Where the NFL fumbled, the 2018 World Series hit a Home Run and earned FOX $121.6 million in ad revenue. Even with fewer games—five compared to seven last year—the average revenue per game was up 27 percent.
Upfront On The (Slow) Upswing
The upfront market grew a modest two percent in October. Meanwhile, the scatter market fell four percent YoY. This drop was attributed to more upfront buys as marketers tried to avoid scatter premiums, SMI reports.
“The linear television season has started sluggishly as expectations of robust demand haven’t yet materialized in the market,” said Fennessy. “Demand from marketers continues to outpace audience erosion even if that is due to more limited digital video advertising options due to ad-free delivery.”
Primetime Remains Premium
The 2018-2019 season is upon us, resulting in a three percent revenue increase for primetime original programming. (SMI notes that primetime, by their definition, is on-syndicated, new episodes for comedy, drama, and reality subgenres.)
Average prices for a 30-second commercial remained flat during primetime. Still, advertisers paid an average premium of 158 percent to advertise during a season premiere. Among the highest grossing shows were ABC’s A Million Little Things, FOX’s 9-1-1, and NBC’s Manifest and New Amsterdam.
SMI observed a highly consolidated market where the top eight media owners account for 86 percent of Entertainment ad revenue. In fact, the top 12 media owners account for 94 percent of ad revenue. Comcast Corp. was the largest TV network group by Entertainment revenue in October at 18 percent.