Alive + Kicking – TV Upfronts Pull in $19.7 Billion

The upfronts just placed $19.7 billion worth of prime-time commercial spots on cable and broadcast TV networks, an increase of 5.9% over last year, according to the New Jersey research firm Media Dynamics.
Cable TV networks took in $10.6 billion of advertising commitments, up 7.6% from 2016.
The pendulum is beginning to swing back to TV (on a national basis) for two reasons:

  1. TV has 11.7x the reach of digital
  2. TV is also free of viewability and fraud issues still plaguing digital

At this year’s Advertising Research Foundation conference, Chief Research Officer of CBS David Poltrack presented findings from a study of 863 cross-media TV + digital campaigns.
For the top 60% of campaign performers: TV delivered 70% reach, but Digital delivered 6% reach.

Local TV ad revenue is another story (not so pretty).
In Comcast’s Q1 2017 earnings call, Steve Burke said, “national and local markets are quite different and exhibit different characteristics…there’s more weakness in local.”
Local’s Bright Spot: HH Addressable (For Cable)
For Cable and Satellite providers in the U.S., household addressable TV advertising is becoming a reality: over 50 million households are now HH addressable. Spectrum (Time Warner) rolled out addressable targeting in 11 million households. Comcast’s addressable HH count is only limited by the speed at which their set top box manufacturer in South Korea can make the boxes.
Local broadcast, however, may experience flat to negative growth on a same station basis as its largest vertical (Auto) shifts approximately 30% of ad dollars away from TV into digital because TV still has not provided the measurement, data, and attribution.
TV = Typewriter?
“Until very recently, TV has given its advertisers the same delivery report that it created on a typewriter,” said Jeff Greenfield, COO of advanced advertising attribution measurement firm C3 Metrics “here’s your GRP’s, here’s your unit delivery, here’s your cost per GRP…it’s essentially the same report from 30 years ago. But now, things are changing with the likes of C3’s DriveShaft. Cable and Linear TV providers simply have to catch up to the attribution metrics compared to the mountain of metrics in digital. Only then, will local begin to stem the revenue loss.”
National TV, however: alive and kicking.