TV Advertising to Increase by 2.7% in 2018

BY Kathy Crosett
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There are a number of reasons for TV media sellers to cheer the arrival of 2018. Being an even-​numbered year, the cyclical advertisers will return in a big way. Specifically, consumers will be glued to their TV sets to watch their favorite Olympians. And, who can forget that political candidates and PACs will be spending money to influence voters?

Despite this positive piece of news, the details in the “U.S. Advertising: What Happens As You Turn The Page?” report from MoffettNathanson Research are grounded in the fact that consumers are spending less time with traditional media formats. That’s the primary reason these researchers predict a ‑1% drop in traditional media spending this year. This drop comes on the heels of a projected ‑8% drop for traditional media in 2017, once the numbers are all in.

While TV overall likely dropped in 2017 by 5.5% when compared to the previous year, the outlook for 2018 is much better as these numbers for specific formats show:

  • Broadcast network +2%
  • National cable (-1.5%)
  • Syndication (-1.0%)
  • Local broadcast +9%
  • Local cable +6.6%

TV stations likely will be battling for their share of political ad dollars this year as Democrats try to take the House and/​or Senate. And the PACs will be out in force, spending money to convince consumers to support specific candidates and ballot initiatives.

Meanwhile, digital advertising continues its steady march to dominance, though its growth rate is slowing slightly. Marketers boosted ad spending in the digital arena by 22% in Q3 2017. In a sobering, but not surprising development, Google and Facebook accounted for 74% of digital growth in the first six months of 2017. As marketers rush to spend on mobile, the likes of Google and Facebook are the ones reaping the rewards. This fact seems especially true when you consider mobile drove 84% of the digital increase in the first part of last year.

Researchers conclude that the total ad market likely will grow by 2.5% this year, significantly less than their earlier estimates of 3.4%. Digital, with an expansion of up to 20%, will carry the rest of the market.

If you’re selling TV, it’s best to leave no stone unturned as you hunt for ad dollars that you can connect to the Winter Olympics and the midterm elections.