TV ad spend up in 2016 | News | Rapid TV News
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Overall US advertising spending ended 2016 up 4.4% compared with the previous year, with broadcast and cable revs up 4.6% and 4% respectively, according to research firm Standard Media Index (SMI).

SP GlobalOver the year, sports, principally the Olympics, was a big driver. By category, sports was up 16% during 2016, thanks to the Rio games.

The NFL continued to affect spending. In December, spending on broadcast was up 1%, while cable climbed 9%. NBC, which added Thursday Night Football, was up 16.6%, and CBS was down 11.3% as it aired one fewer NFL contest. FOX was up 1.3%, while ABC was down 13.4%. With the Rio games and more NFL games, NBC was up 20% for the year. CBS, with Super Bowl 50 in February, was up 3.2%. ABC was down 2.2% and FOX fell 4.6%.

Yet it was a different story without sports. Cable rose 3.9% while broadcast dipped 2.4%, while entertainment was the only genre to see revenue fall, down 1.8%. Unsurprisingly given the election-season fervour, cable news networks saw huge gains, with CNN jumping 57.8% and Fox News rising 25.7%. Overall, the election boosted the news category 14.1%.

Widening the scope out to the entire fourth quarter, SMI found that  broadcast was down 2.2%, with NBC up 7.3% and FOX up 2.9%, offset by a decline at CBS of 12.4%. And, ABC dropped 9.6%. Among the top cable networks, ESPN was down 2.9%, TBS rose 1%, TNT fell 1%, and USA Network declined 2.8%. However, HGTV up 13.8%, Bravo up 14% and Food Network up 4.9%.

Retailers boosted TV spend during the holiday season as they shifted what had been digital spending back to the boob tube. Spending growth on digital ads fell from a double-digit share to just 7.1%.

“The big story in Q4 was the move back to television for some big categories of advertisers who had pushed the experimentation with digital a little too far,” said James Fennessy, SMI’s CEO. “Retailers flooded back into TV over the holidays which helped make up for some softness in the early part of the football season. The Olympics, a crazy election cycle, concerns around digital’s effectiveness and the power of live sports to draw big audiences and associated dollars have been the stories in the second half of the year and have driven the results we are seeing in this year-end snapshot.”