Outlook for U.S. TV Ad Spending Bleak, SMI Reports 5% Drop in Q2

Outlook for U.S. TV Ad Spending Bleak, SMI Reports 5 percent Drop in Q2Be thankful you’re not an advertising exec at a television station these days.

The woes being experienced by television networks have been well documented in recent months. Television viewership and engagement is slipping as more and more people gravitate to digital media — especially mobile.

Confirmation of the current malaise in TV ad spending is just out from Standard Media Index (SMI), which reported that television advertising fell 5 percent in Q2 2015. SMI tracks 80 percent of U.S. ad agency spending.

“The year-ago quarter benefited from the men’s FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, an event that generated more than an estimated $500 million in TV ad spending (far more than the women’s competition this year),” noted the Wall Street Journal. “Excluding sports programming such as the World Cup, TV ad spending fell 3 percent for the period.”

Broadcast TV ad spending slipped most — down 10 percent — while cable TV dollars slipped 3 percent.

“June’s overall numbers were negatively impacted on a year-on-year basis by last year’s World Cup,” said SMI Chief Commercial Officer James Fennessy. “However, there are some underlying factors that are contributing to a deeper malaise. Soft ratings and ongoing measurement issues continue to impact television’s results, and we also saw a slight slowdown in the explosive growth from digital, which points to marketers focusing more closely on return on investment.”

The future doesn’t look much better.

“While it’s hard to know for sure how much the TV networks locked down in advanced ad sales this upfront season, most industry watchers expect this year’s upfront to be at least as bad as last year’s, when cable upfront commitments slipped and broadcast upfront sales fell at least 5 percent,” reports the WSJ. “Ad buyers have said more marketers are holding back their TV dollars to buy ad time closer to the air date or shifting dollars to digital media.”