U.S. Ad Market Climbs Eight Percent In February

The U.S. advertising market grew eight percent in February over the same period last year, excluding the Winter Olympics. Standard Media Index (SMI) attributes this growth to strong gains in national television, digital and radio. The promotional products market has also showed an increase in recent months. The latest Market Outlook Report, produced by ITR Economics and PPAI, showed sales of promotional products in fourth quarter 2017 were 5.8 percent higher than the same period in 2016.

SMI reports that in February 2018, year-over-year advertising revenue in national TV grew 12 percent, with an even 12 percent growth in both cable and broadcast. Digital grew 18 percent, radio increased 15 percent, out-of-home (OOH) grew nine percent and print dropped 26 percent.

The National TV market in February is affected by the schedules of several major events, notably the Olympics, The Grammy Awards and The Oscars. Both award shows took place in February 2017, while this year's Grammy Awards were held in January and The Oscars were held in March. By taking out the Olympics, Oscars and Grammys, the underlying year-over-year growth in February for national TV is 7.6 percent.

“February was a terrific month for National TV, even putting the success of the Olympics to the side,” says James Fennessy, SMI’s CEO. “The underlying jump of 7.6 percent was all down to the power of live sports as the major broadcasters had big year-over-year falls in entertainment as they didn’t want to compete with NBC’s Olympics coverage. We saw ESPN’s revenue jump significantly with big increases in the NBA, college basketball and Sportscenter. FS1 also saw big gains in NASCAR and college basketball, and to top it off, NBC’s Super Bowl slammed on $20 million more than last year’s event.”

Digital platforms’ ad revenues have grown on a year-over-year basis in every month since SMI began tracking the data. Digital’s rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2017 and has remained in the low double digits since October. Spending on digital now makes up 36 percent of the total national advertising market. Social media networks saw the largest growth in February at 47 percent year over year. Pinterest increased ad revenue the most at 88 percent, followed by Facebook at 65 percent. Snapchat grew advertising revenue by 21 percent.

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