Traditional TV is indeed losing significant ad market share to online video, study finds

It's not a blip. In the second quarter, the U.S. linear television market grew its ad revenue at the slowest clip, 0.4 percent, since the Great Recession. And online video, which accounted for 98 percent of total U.S. ad market growth in Q2, is to blame.

Backtracking on his earlier assertion--one shared by a number of other media analysts--that softness in the U.S. retail, automotive and movie industries caused a Q2 blip in broadcast and cable TV ad sales, Michael Nathanson now says online video is clearly the "culprit."

And germane to the pay-TV industry, the shift might be permanent. 

"Online advertising is now a large percentage of the market (one-third as defined by our ad tracker) and still growing at an amazing speed (+21 percent in the second quarter)," Nathanson writes. "Despite the obvious math of a large number (32 percent) growing at a super-high rate (+21 percent), we are still shocked that, in a growing U.S. economy, online sourced 98 percent of second quarter growth."

With all this in mind, Nathanson lowered his full-year ad-sales growth forecast for cable from 6 percent to 5 percent, while dropping broadcast from 5 percent to 2 percent.

And he suspects the shift will remain ongoing in a 2015 that doesn't feature an Olympics, a World Cup or national elections.

MoffettNathanson Adtracker 2Q 2014

AdTracker Q2 contribution and growth, by media type. (Chart provided courtesy of MoffettNathanson)

For more:
- read this MoffetNathanson report (sub. req.)
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

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