US television ad bookings dropped by six per cent in Q1 with overall TV ad spend down 4 per cent

Overall US television ad bookings dropped by six per cent in the first quarter of this year with TV ad spend down four per cent for the broadcast-year-to-date, according to data group Standard Media Index.

The drops can be partially attributed to last year's increased spending on the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Taking out sporting events including the Olympics, TV revenues in Q1 of this year saw seven per cent growth in broadcast and four per cent growth in cable compared to 2014.

In March, TV saw a slight boost in ad investment as cable increased by one per cent while broadcast remained flat.

The overall ad market rose by one per cent for the first quarter. Digital drove the growth of the market, with an increase of 23 per cent for Q1.

Scott Grunther, SMI’s executive vice president of media, said: “A nice uptick in scatter dollars fueled national TV growth in March, which is certainly a good sign for the health of the ad marketplace. The solid growth figures when you remove the impact of the winter games from last year provides reason for networks to be more optimistic heading into upfront season.”

With sports spending included, cable TV spend saw a two per cent increase for the quarter but broadcast spend fell by 12 per cent.

Advertisers boosted their scatter spending in both broadcast (13 per cent) and cable (nine per cent).

NBC saw the largest increase in non-sports ad spend, up nearly 30 per cent for the quarter minus the impact of the Olympic Games last year.

AMC, ESPN, MTV, and the Food Network also saw increased advertiser investment for the quarter.

SMI measures 80 per cent of total national U.S. agency spend from the booking systems of five of the six global media holding groups (Publicis, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, and Aegis) along with leading independents.

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