TV & Streaming

National TV ad spend is holding steady—for now

But auto brands and financial services have pulled back.
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· less than 3 min read

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Fall offers us the chance to return to seasonal staples: chunky sweaters, spiced drinks, and classic family recipes.

Many advertisers, though, opted not to return to fall television at the same levels as they have in previous years, according to national TV ad investment data from Standard Media Index. More than half of the major advertiser product categories pulled back their advertising spend on national TV in September compared to a year ago, according to SMI data.

  • Auto brands pulled back their national TV ad spend the most, with their share of ad investment in September being 17% less than a year ago.
  • Financial services brands also pulled back by 14% YoY in September.
  • And CPG, restaurant, retail, wellness, and apparel and accessories brands all dialed back their ad spend on national TV this fall when compared to the same time last year.

But wait: Double-digit increases in ad investment from two major categories—pharmaceutical brands (a 19% YoY increase) and a catchall “general business” category that includes home furnishings and office supply brands (also a 19% YoY increase)—helped keep total national TV advertising spend relatively flat year over year, SMI found.

“Those two sectors really helped stabilize the performance of the overall landscape,” Nicole McCurnin, SMI’s director of advertising insights, told Marketing Brew.

  • Other sectors investing more in national TV year over year included tech brands, which increased spend by 10%; travel, which increased by 4%; and media and entertainment, which increased by 2%.

The data highlights that while national TV ad investment is changing and viewership trends continue to favor streaming, some advertisers still see value in linear TV. For now.

“The fact that it’s flat showcases that there’s promise still there, and it’s holding,” McCurnin said.—KS

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