First-quarter U.S. domestic national TV advertising still appears to be “disappointing,” according to one analysis. MoffettNathanson Research now expects that national TV advertising will decline 8.6% in the first quarter to $9.16 billion — a slightly better forecast than its earlier 8.9% estimate, but “still a disappointing number,” say the authors.
The upfront has moved at a snail’s pace this year, with two broadcast networks, ABC and NBC, still in negotiations three weeks after the selling season broke. That’s a reflection of two things. First, the economy, while certainly on the mend, is still not healthy. And second, broadcast TV has lost some of its potency. Both are evident in a new forecast from ZenithOptimedia released this morning. The London agency foresees steady but not strong growth of 3.5% for total U.S. ad spending this year, consistent with its most recent forecast in March.
TV and radio in Denver are healthy, but demand is down compared to last year, when the Olympics and elections fueled spending. “I think the outlook is that it will be a softer year,” says Jennifer Long, broadcast supervisor at Haworth Marketing + Media. “This market seems to be healthy, though, so I think it will still be strong for most stations.” Inventory remains tight in a few high-demand dayparts, but pricing is down mid-single digits in most dayparts, and the market is generally easy for advertisers to get into. Strong categories include auto, retail and fast food.
U.S. ad spending expanded 4% during the first two months of 2013 vs. the same period in 2012, according to actual buying data from four of the six agency holding companies compiled by Standard Media Index (SMI). But broadcast media — both radio (-4%) and TV (-3%) — the main beneficiaries of political media buys, were the only media sectors to post declines during the first two months of 2013. While broadcast TV was down, increases in network (+1%) and local cable (+5%) and syndication (+1%), were enough to keep total TV ad spending erosion down to just 1% during the first two months.
Dealers and manufacturers are eager to reach buyers in what’s expected to be a huge year for car sales, boosting television ad dollars over last year.
Want to know why ABC is moving Jimmy Kimmel Live to 11:35 p.m. from its midnight home? Just follow the money.
Ad spending on cable is now on par with that allocated to broadcast TV, according to data from Nielsen. Ad spending on English-language cable-TV networks came to about $21 billion in 2011, roughly even with ad spending on English-language broadcast networks’ $21.1 billion.