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National Advertising Market Sees Incremental Q1 2017 Growth

Standard Media Index (SMI), the company bringing accuracy and transparency to advertising data, today unveiled updated figures for Q1 2017. The total market closed the quarter up +2.8% compared to Q1 2016. While the market is continuing to see an increase in overall dollars, the growth rate has slowed across all mediums seeing the lowest Q1 growth rate since 2011!


Overall, the national television market in Q1 2017 saw a slight increase in advertising spend at +0.9% year-over-year. While any growth is positive, for a quarter with some of the biggest advertising events of the year like the Super Bowl and Hollywood Award Season, the industry was hoping for a larger uptick. The auto industry, however, was the biggest catalyst to a lackluster quarter as it decreased spend in Q1 by -12.4% or approximately $143.6M. The consumer electronics industry also removed a whopping $73.1M, followed by the entertainment industry’s removal of $69M. QSR, Prescription and Insurance advertisers did help make up some of the difference with +12.8%, +17.1% and +10.0% increases in spend respectively.

The Broadcast industry grew slightly with a +2.4% increase year-over-year with much of that coming from the three categories mentioned above, and an increased interest in news programming which saw +13.5% more advertising spend than in Q1 2016. The Cable industry, on the other hand, was relatively flat year-over-year with just -0.7% change in spend. The market also saw a -2.5% decrease to Scatter buys, much of which is coming from Cable, which closed the quarter with a double-digit decline.


There is no question that sports programming will continue to be a huge driver for advertising dollars across TV. But, just like the advertising industry overall, the genre did see a slight flattening in Q1 2017 with just +2.7% increase across both cable and broadcast. This change comes after a strong 2016, especially Q1 2016 which saw +13% compared to Q1 2015.


Looking at Broadcast and Cable Entertainment, both were relatively flat with small decreases of -0.3% and -1.1% respectively across all dayparts. Digging into Broadcast Entertainment in the Primetime daypart across the top four networks (CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC), we see a decline of -1.5%.

NBC continues to see the biggest gains in Broadcast Entertainment Primetime with +13.2% compared to Q1 2016 and saw its average :30 second spot across the daypart go up +4.5% to $109,650 for new shows. These increases can be attributed to breakout drama This Is Us, and increases around Chicago Fire, P.D., and Med. FOX (-7.7%), CBS (-4.2%) and ABC (-5.0%) all saw overall revenue declines.

Even with an overall loss, FOX saw success with Empire, which brought in the highest average :30 second spot for a scripted show in the quarter at approximately $576,500, which is +4.8% more than in Q1 2016. The Walking Dead received the second highest average :30 second spot price for a scripted show with $352,800, though that was down -14.9% from the average price in Q1 2016.

For Cable, lifestyle networks are still enjoying great success. Scripps’ HGTV and Food Network saw double digit increases of spend of +17.9% and +10.3% respectively. For HGTV, the show Fixer Upper led its Q1 lineup, with +38.2% more revenue from ads YoY. Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel also saw double digit increases with +10% and +16.5% respectively.

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