The national TV market ended the second quarter flat compared to a year ago, with spending down 0.8%, according to Standard Media Index.
During that time period, cable networks were down 4% while broadcast networks were up 4% annually. SMI attributed the 4% swing between broadcast and cable to the final three games of the NCAA tournament in April, which aired on CBS instead of TBS.
In June, however, broadcast was down 2% while cable was mostly flat, up 0.4%. The down month for broadcast came in part because of Univision, which saw a whopping 35% decline in ad spend without the Copa América Centenario tournament, which it had aired in June 2016. Take Univision out of the equation and broadcast overall grew by 2% in June, led by Fox with a 9% increase in spend due to the U.S. Open.
News programming once again helped drive up ad spending in the second quarter. Ad revenue in news programming was up 16% across both cable and broadcast networks, while entertainment stayed flat and sports was down 8%.
Fox News saw an increase of 11%, CNN was up 21% and MSNBC skyrocketed 40%.
Among the broadcast news programs, CBS This Morning was up 32% during the quarter due to a 28% increase in average unit cost. NBC Nightly News was up 8.4% and CBS's Face the Nation’s ad revenue was up 28%.
“Despite some ratings challenges, the national TV market continues to hold up strongly. The results we are seeing demonstrate that national TV continues to command the dominant position for major brands as they look for guaranteed, quality and engaged audiences, as well as the return on investment these deliver,” said James Fennessy, CEO of SMI, in a statement. “The standout performers for the quarter continue to come from the news genre, jumping 16%, which is hardly surprising given the fodder Washington serves up on a daily basis.”
While news programming thrived, sports and entertainment didn’t perform quite as well. SMI attributed the sports decline to fewer games in both the NBA Playoffs and Finals, as well as the Copa América Centenario tournament.
Entertainment spending for the quarter may have been flat, but across all four networks, June primetime entertainment was up 9%.