Kantar Media: US TV Industry Becoming Increasingly Dependent on Sport and Politics

Advertising revenue from sport and politics is becoming increasingly important to the US TV industry, according to a new report by Kantar Media. The study found that ‘marked declines’ in ad revenue between Q3 2012 and Q3 2013 highlighted the growing importance of these events to TV’s bottom line.

Last year the industry saw record-breaking advertising around the Summer Olympics and the escalation of spending by political advertisers on the presidential and other US elections as Election Day drew closer. However, with no Olympics taking place this year, Q3 spending on network TV advertising plunged 17.9 percentage points. And without elections, Q3 spending on spot TV advertising – the favored TV platform for politics – sank 15 points.

Kantar TV Data

Jon Swallen, Chief Research Officer for Kantar Media North America, said that the one-off events in 2012 “injected more than $1 billion in incremental money into the TV marketplace.”However, Swallen also noted that other sports programming and elections is making up an increasing share of broadcasters’ revenue. According to Swallen’s calculations, collectively, this advertising accounted for 18.3% of measured TV ad spending in the year 2006, 18.7% of measured TV ad spending in 2008, 20.1% in 2010, and 22.4% in 2012.

“Olympics and election ad spending are biennial and benefit a concentrated group of TV networks and local stations,” said Swallen. “On the other hand, TV ad spending in sports programming represents more money overall, is an annual affair and is more broadly distributed.”


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