Award Shows and Cable News Fueled a 7.1% Increase in January’s National TV Ad Revenue

NFL postseason games reversed the regular season declines

Last month's Golden Globes earned $32 million in ad revenue, up 7.1 percent from 2017. Getty Images
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Linear ratings have continued to fall this season, but ad revenue is on the rise. The national TV advertising spend in January increased 7.1 percent year over year, according to new data from Standard Media Index.

That January boost includes a 11.1 percent lift in cable ad revenue and a 2.7 percent jump in broadcast spend.

According to the data from SMI, which tracks 70 percent of national ad spending from global and independent agencies, three awards shows in January—the Golden Globes, Grammys and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards—boosted ad revenue thanks to year-over-year increases.

“January has been a stellar month for national TV. Scatter volume is up 50 percent on 2017 as a host of advertisers have stormed back into the market. Some of this growth has been driven by the move of several big college football games and the Grammys into January, but even so, underlying growth is still an impressive 5.3 percent,” said SMI CEO James Fennessy.

The Golden Globes took in $32 million in revenue, a 7.1 percent jump over last year (with the cost of 30-second spots increasing 5 percent), while the Grammys yielded $61 million in ad revenue, a 3.8 percent lift from 2017. Meanwhile, the SAG Awards saw a 25 percent increase in ad revenue.

“We see that even though audiences are falling, pricing for these major events continues to increase,” said Fennessy. “We expect to see this trend continue, as our research shows an impressive return for advertisers that support live programming. Premium video continues to be the power house of ROAS [return on advertising spend] and, given the fragmentation of audiences and safety issues on other mediums, this won’t change anytime soon.”

Cable news ad revenue grew a whopping 25 percent year over year, with MSNBC leading the pack thanks to a 62 percent hike in ad revenue. CNN grew 32 percent, and while Fox News saw a 17 percent increase, it continues to charge the most for a 30-second spot, which averages $13,600 in weekday prime time.

January’s postseason NFL games saw a 5.3 percent year-over-year boost in revenue. That reversed the 1.2 percent regular season decline in ad revenue, as makegoods overtook unit rate increases.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.