/// Broadcast Spend Drops 18 Percent to $4.18 Billion in Q3

December 16, 2013  |  Media Week

The sugar rush of last year’s Summer Olympics and political spend has given way to the inevitable crash, as third-quarter advertising expenditures were down significantly from Q3 2012. According to a new report from Kantar Media, overall Q3 TV spend dipped 6 percent to $17.2 billion on unfavorable comparisons to the year-ago July-September period. Broadcast TV took the biggest hit, dropping 18 percent to $4.18 billion. Predictably, spot TV also took its lumps, falling 15 percent to $3.8 billion. “Comparisons against Q3 of 2012 are skewed by last year’s record-breaking Summer Olympics and political campaign ad spending, which artificially boosted the market,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. Swallen added that the London Games and the presidential and local elections injected “more than $1 billion in incremental money into the TV marketplace.” Of course, the broadcast marketplace as a whole did not directly benefit from the huge cash infusion provided by the Olympics. NBC booked north of $1 billion in ad sales for the 2012 London Summer Games, a haul it sweetened with another $300 million in affiliate and digital revenue. (While the Winter Olympics don’t have quite the impact of the Summer Games, NBC expects to make a profit on Sochi, for which it paid a $775 million rights fee. Earlier this fall, NBC Sports evp of sales and marketing Seth Winter said NBC already secured a record $800 million in Sochi sales.) As Swallen notes, advertising driven by the Olympics, other sports programming and elections accounts for a steadily increasing share of TV sales . Whereas these categories accounted for $12.8 billion, or 19 percent, of the estimated $68.4 billion in overall TV sales in 2008, last year’s incremental spend accounted for 22 percent of the total TV take—a hearty $16.8 billion wedge of the $75.2 billion pie. National cable networks aren’t nearly as in thrall to the Olympics and political eddies. Per Kantar, cable was up 5 percent to $6.24 billion. Pricing increases and an ongoing inflation of hourly ad time contributed to this increase.


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