- The U.S. advertising market grew by 10.8% in January year-over-year, according to Standard Media Index research provided to Marketing Dive. Digital led the growth at 16.8%, followed by national TV ads at 7.1%, which included an 11.1% growth in cable and 2.7% increase in broadcast. Among the declines are radio advertising at 6.1%, out-of-home at 2.1% and print at 3%.
- Despite declining viewership, award shows, including the Grammys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, helped drive some of the TV ad growth, with a 12% increase compared to January 2017. The Grammys brought in $61 million in ad revenue for CBS, a 3.8% increase. The cost of a 30-second spot increased 11.8%, and while viewership was down 24%, there was a 40% increase in live streaming figures.
- In separate news, ABC reportedly sold out of its ad inventory for the Academy Awards, set to air March 4, and hit an advertising record, with price tags for 30-second commercials increasing by "high single-digit" percentages, per MediaPost. In 2017, commercial costs averaged $1.9 million and the show brought in about $123 million in national ad sales.
With multiple awards shows, the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, 2017 has so far provided marketers with plenty of live TV events to rally around, leading to strong performance. Based on the data, Standard Media Index forecasts national TV advertising to grow 1.6% in Q1, not counting the Winter Olympics. Despite an overall ramp-up in cord-cutting and increased competition from streaming services like Hulu, which saw 20% growth, marketers clearly still find value in big TV ad buys for cyclical viewing events like the upcoming Oscars.
The research also highlights that, even with TV ad growth, digital continues to outshine other media. While digital's growth slowed in the second half of 2017, it’s been steady at around 12% since October. Social media networks had the biggest growth in the digital category at 42% despite increased scrutiny over the negative impact these platforms have on society and their users. Facebook's ad revenue growth was the strongest at 55%, followed by Twitter at 30%, Standard Media Index found.
While there are some positive signs for TV to be drawn from the research, it's important for marketers to keep in mind that much of these points are derived from cyclical viewing events that aren't necessarily indicative of the overall health of the channel. Last year, TV advertising sales dropped 7.8% to $61.8 billion, the steepest decline in the past two decades barring a recession, according to recent data from Magna Global. The firm predicted that, outside of events like the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics and the U.S. midterm elections, 2018 isn't likely to fare much better going forward, and some analysts suggest the TV market may never rebound to its prior peaks.