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Digital and Out-Of-Home Star in May Ad Market

New York, 17th Jul 2015 – Digital and out-of-home media were the key drivers of growth within the advertising sector in May, boosting the total market by 2%, according to Standard Media Index’s (SMI) data released today.

Digital’s growth, which leapt +24% in May on a year-on-year basis, continues to keep the ad market in positive territory. Digital ad types across the board delivered healthy double-digit gains, with social media sites jumping by close to 60% and almost half of the digital spend bought programmatically. Digital’s share has expanded by five percentage points to 30% of all spend in the calendar year-to–date.

SMI’s data also shows that out-of-home ad spending bucked recent trends and grew by 8% in May on a YOY basis.

“May’s results are a mirror image of the last few months. Digital continues to surge at the expense of other media. TV ratings were soft in May and we see SMI’s numbers following in lock step with these results. Digital video continues to grow, and as audience measurement on mobile devices improves, we are confident that these gains will accelerate and positively impact the spend going to the major networks,” said SMI’s chief commercial officer James Fennessy.

Television continues to face a challenging ad market, with broadcast falling by -8% for the month and -7% for the quarter so far, in comparison to 2014. Cable fared a little better, contracting by -3% in May and -4% for the quarter-to-date compared to last year.

Continuing the trend of previous months, major advertiser categories including telecommunications, automotive and financial services grew significantly in digital at the expense of all other media types.


  • NBC was the only broadcast network to deliver positive growth (+2%) for the month of May.
  • ABC Family was the pick of the cable networks, delivering +16% growth, and advertiser demand was higher for niche networks Food Network and HGTV, as well as cable players AMC, ESPN and Lifetime, which all showed healthy single-digit gains in May over 2014.
  • The digital sector attracted significant year-on-year increases across social media sites (+56%), internet radio (+44%), pure-play video sites (+29%) and TV networks’ digital offerings (+10%).
  • Ad revenues in the scatter market stayed relatively flat for both broadcast (+2%) and cable (-1%) in May year-on-year.
  • In print media, newspaper ad revenues dropped by -1% for the month, while the magazine market declined -12% YOY in May. Radio advertising revenues slipped by -12% for the same period when compared with the previous year.

SMI captures 80% of total U.S. agency spend exclusively from the booking systems of five of the six global media holding groups, as well as leading independents. It reports monthly on actual spend data and is the clearest picture of the flow of dollars across the sector.

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