The coronavirus has caused massive collateral damage to the economy, taking down with it initially rosy predictions for spot advertising in 2020. But one bright spot on the horizon is that political dollars still will come, and broadcasters have the solace of diversified revenue thanks to retransmission consent to spare them an even crueler blow.
A forecast of a double-digit decline in spot revenue next year is the consensus of station groups and industry watchers surveyed annually by TVNewsCheck. The drop is due almost entirely to the lack of political advertising compared to this year. Otherwise, ad sales will be flat. The automotive sector, which accounts for about 25% of spot revenue, has been problematic this year, and there’s no clear sign that the category will improve to any notable extent in 2019.
Next Thursday is the 25th anniversary of the law that empowered broadcasters to negotiate for retrans rights. If you are not celebrating the day, you should. Retrans has shifted nearly $40 billion from cable to broadcasting over the past 11 years. But it can’t save local TV forever. While the NAB continues to stave off cable retrans “reform” efforts, broadcasters must find ways to revitalize the spot business.
That’s the consensus of station groups and industry watchers surveyed by TVNewsCheck. The downturn is fully expected as political advertising dries up as it always does in odd-numbered years. However, the reforecast for 2016 is down from the last fall’s original prediction because political spending has not been as strong as expected.
In a deal with media software company Strata, National CineMedia will allow agencies and marketers to buy cinema advertising in the TV spot marketplace for the first time. NCM, a national network of 20,050 movie screens in 1,600 theaters in 187 DMAs, says its in-theater media inventory is expected to be available in the Strata system by mid-year. The deal will allow marketers to plan, purchase and bill NCM media through Strata in the top 25 DMAs.
With billions of political dollars coming their way, TV stations’ spot revenue will grow 13.5% next year, according to TVNewsCheck‘s annual survey. The gain would be much greater if stations could only figure out how to get more than 2% growth from all their other ad categories.
BIA/Kelsey media buying veteran Maribeth Papuga examines the health of spot TV and advises station groups to work together to get smarter about who is watching their programs, create more relevant data and seek out new programs that might attract new audiences. She also says Big Data is what broadcasters need to reap the most benefits from programmatic or automated buying.
The top 10 markets are seeing lower demand heading into fall, and buyers are holding out longer to make their buys, knowing there are deals to be had.
After a slow start to 2015, the top 10 markets are seeing an influx of dollars, driven by auto, retail and telecom. A market-by-market breakdown.
U.S. television ad spending as a whole increased 6.5% in the third quarter and was the only sector in the analysis with year-over-year growth.
Like so many other media, spot TV is feeling the squeeze from digital. In 2015, spending on the medium will be up only 1.6% compared to 2014, according to the latest forecast from Pivotal Research Group. By comparison, Pivotal predicts local digital spending will rise 9.2%. Advertisers will be moving money from spot to the Web, a trend retailers have been embracing this holiday season.
According to the latest numbers from Kantar as analyzed by TVB, spot TV spending fell 7.9%, to $15.8 billion, compared to 2012, due largely to lack of political dollars. Auto was up 3.6%, insurance rose 13%, but four top-10 categories saw declines.
It falls 3.8% during the second quarter, largely due to to a $100 million decline in political dollars. Bright spots include automotive and communications. During 2Q 2012, spot advertisers spent $136 million on political. During 2Q 2013, they spent $100 million less. This decline in spending will get sharper as the year goes on, since the largest share of political dollars are spent closer to the election, during September and October.
Ad spending falls 2.6% during the first quarter. A good deal of the drop comes from a steep decrease in political spending. Auto jumps 5% with a bump in car sales.
That core increase was driven by auto spending, which was up almost 9% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Other high-growth categories in the quarter: department stores (+25.1%), supermarkets/grocery stores (+33.3%) and telecommunications (+13.4%).
Sue Johenning, Initiative U.S. EVP-director of local broadcast, says 2013 is off to a good start in local markets: “Automotive is up over last year. There is still a lot of telecom. Which is cellular, but it’s also the battle between companies who provide Internet and phone service. Retail is pretty good. Financial is popping in quite a few markets.” She also discusses the impact that the upcoming upfronts may have on local TV; whether money is shifting out of spot TV to other media; the move to live-same-day ratings as currency; and Nielsen’s effort to improve ratings in diary markets.
While there’s still some resistance from media buyers, live-plus-same-day ratings for local measurement finds growing acceptance in top markets. Today, according to TVB, about 75% of ad buys in Nielsen’s top 25 markets with Local People Meters markets are negotiated using live-SD ratings. “At a bare minimum, we believe that local viewing should be measured including DVR viewership,” says Valari Staab, president of NBC Owned Television Stations. “Our local measurement should reflect the way people watch TV today.”
Despite a lack of political and Olympic spending, 2013 could actually be up, driven by strong auto spending, as long as the fiscal cliff is resolved neatly.
ZenithOptimedia predicts U.S. total ad spending will rise 4.3% this year, up from an earlier prediction of 3.6%. And spot TV is hot, hot, hot, with the biggest increase over last year among all of TV and radio.
PAC and issue spending are squeezing inventory, but other categories including restaurants and auto are still getting on the air, at higher premiums.
According to broadcasters, reps and analysts surveyed by TVNewsCheck, the revenue driver at TV stations next year will be automotive, which our survey participants say will be up around 8%. In addition, core advertising displaced this year by political advertising will return. The big difference in 2013, of course, will be that dropoff in political ad money following this year’s elections. But while the category will be like a “desert” compared to this year, there may be an unusually large amount of issue advertising in the first quarter as the government grapples with budget and tax issues.
Back-to-school advertising on spot television saw a small uptick this year versus last year as millions of students head back to their classrooms this week and next. uyers say that the slight increase in consumer confidence and retail sales at the end of the summer led advertisers to increase their back-to-school budgets, a bit of a surprise following another summer of dour economic news.
Restaurant spending is starting to return in many spot television markets after a dip in 2010. McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts have been driving the biggest spending increases, most notably in New York City, where the restaurant chains are investing heavily in spot television.
GM’s global chief marketing officer oversees an advertising juggernaut that last year spent almost $1.8 billion in the U.S., with more than $166 million of that in TV. He talks about why spot TV continues to hold value for GM’s brands; how it can be even more effective; as well as the increasing importance of, and emphasis on, its growing and evolving digital ad strategy.
As TVNewsCheck checks back with broadcasters, reps and analysts we surveyed last fall, the spot ad market is looking stronger due to political ad spending. Back then, the consensus was total spot would climb 10.2% this year. Now, however, the spot seers say it’s more likely that number will be a point or two higher, even though core growth my be a little lower than orginally thought.
Why there should be room for 210 spot slices on every agency’s diet plan.
The outlook for consumer holiday spending isn’t particularly strong this year, with forecasters predicting growth of 2.5%-3% over 2010, about half last year’s growth rate. But spot television spending should be very healthy despite that lukewarm forecast, ending a string of months of flat or declining spending following a softer-than-expected spring.
Spot TV far outpaces other broadcast TV segments. It’s powered by a 74% gain in automotive spending.
TVB took a hard look at the the commonly accepted notion that network ad buys are always cheaper than spot buys on a per-point basis and found that it is not always so. In fact, in early morning and latenight, spot is actually more efficient. What’s more, it’s a tossup in primetime in the first and second quarters.
Advertisers that buy network TV because they presume it’s cheaper than buying spot TV, may be throwing money out the window. That’s according to a new TVB study that found that spot TV often less expensive than buying network scatter.