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Vibrant July Ad Market Lifted by Digital and OOH

New York, 19th Aug 2015 – Thriving digital and out-of-home ad sales in July propelled the ad market to record its largest uptick so far this year, global advertising data company Standard Media Index (SMI) said today as it published its monthly data. Ad spending increased by +7% year-on-year in the past month.

According to SMI data, the continued shift to digital advertising and the resurgence of out of home media kept the market in positive territory. Dollars spent on digital increased by +28% and advertisers invested in the out-of-home sector (+32%) with renewed vigor in July, reflecting recent trends.

Figures show that TV ad spend dropped -2% compared to the same period last year and investment in cable rose only slightly by +1%, while broadcast fell by -2% in July. The result is despite a slew of high-profile TV events in July, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Special Olympics 2015 and ESPY Awards. “While TV’s numbers were down slightly, our July results are showing some stabilization at the top end of the TV market. The broadcast networks showed a slight uptick, if you discount Univision’s 2014 World Cup revenue. Fox’s performance improved significantly with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, attracting some very significant scatter dollars,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s chief commercial officer.

“The cable story is a mixed bag with some strong performances, while a handful of leading networks are really suffering due to double-digit ratings declines over the summer. The digital

sector continues to drive the overall market, with social almost doubling its revenues on an annualized basis and video also up more than 60%.”

Advertiser categories contributing to the market’s healthy gains in July were pharmaceuticals (+28%), non-alcoholic beverages (+24%) and quick-serve restaurants (+15%), which all had considerable growth on a year-on-year basis.

Interestingly, retail advertising dropped by -8% YoY despite recent reports that back-to-school marketers are investing in heavy consumer outreach as early as July to keep up with shopping behaviour.


  • While digital media continues to siphon dollars away from the TV upfront market (-5%), the scatter market was able to attract double-digit growth and rise by +17% in July after a slower growth rate in June.
  • Advertisers took advantage of investing opportunistic dollars into the scatter market in July, so much so that scatter broadcast revenues increased by +54% and a more modest +1% for cable.
  • In the upfront market, broadcast revenues dropped -13% and cable stayed relatively flat (+1%) in the month of July.
  • Cable networks MTV and Discovery Channel attracted double-digit percentage increases in July, and TBS revenues rose again in July after some weak months earlier in 2015.
  • Telemundo had double-digit year-on-year growth in July. Other top broadcast networks ABC, CBS and Fox all stayed relatively flat for month.
  • The digital sector continued its vibrant growth in July. Social media sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) grew +93% year-on-year, video sites were up +63%, ad networks/ad exchanges rose by +29% and internet radio revenues increased more than +36%.

* Out of home spending in July beat out June as the strongest month in the year to date. Advertisers invested +32% YoY more compared than the same time last year.

  • Newspapers grew by 3% in July while magazines and radio dropped on a YoY basis.

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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