Somewhat unsurprisingly, NBC’s advertising revenue dropped in August compared to the same month last year when the network broadcast the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Yet it’s still eye-popping to see NBC’s overall August TV ad revenue plummet a whopping 82% year over year, according to Standard Media Index (SMI). Free from those tough comps and buoyed somewhat by NFL preseason games, CBS and Fox saw ad revenue jump 17% and 14%, respectively, while ABC was down just 1% year over year. Univision’s August ad revenue rose 3%, but Telemundo fell 7%, similarly impacted by no Olympics this year.
“We saw a couple of standout entertainment programs on broadcast deliver strongly for ABC and NBC in August,” said SMI CEO James Fennessy. “The finale of the Bachelorette saw an average spot jump 50% to $131,000 compared to 2016 and brought in almost 80% more revenue, and NBC should be delighted with the summer run of Saturday Night Live which delivered an average of $124,000 for each paid spot.”
Overall, broadcast TV fell 54% year over year but cable only fell 1%. NBC’s cable properties did feel some of the sting, but SMI said that 92% of all Olympic spend went to broadcast and only 8% went to cable.
“The Olympics in August 2016 make meaningful year-on-year comparisons tricky, but our data did show some insights that are worth focusing on. The overall market is up 2.4% on a year-to-date basis, with only a 4% year-to-date loss on TV, which shows that a lot of Olympics dollars had been redirected into the Games from existing budgets,” said Fennessy.
On cable, ESPN’s August ad revenue leapt 27% year over year thanks to preseason NFL games, more of the U.S. Open taking place in August in 2017 than in 2016, and higher unit rates around MLB games, according to SMI. TBS rose 5%, HGTV rose 1.5%, Food Network rose 10% and Discovery Channel rose 16%.
While cable news continues to grow ad revenue, SMI said that growth has slowed to just a 2.4% increase in spend, year-over-year, indicating the Trump effect may be leveling out.
Fox News’ ad revenue was down 2.5% across all news programming, while CNN was up 8% and MSNBC was up 26%.