U.S. advertising slipped 3% in December, according to MediaPost quoting UBS Securities. The downturn is being attributed to a slowdown in the growth of digital media. Overall, fourth quarter 2017 was up 1% over the same period a year ago.
Digital in December was up 3.8% compared to 14.1% in November. For 2017, digital saw a 10% increase over 2016. National TV trended down in late 2017, with a 7% drop in December being considerably worse than the 2% decline in November. Over the fourth quarter, the decrease was 4%. The third-quarter drop for National TV was 13% compared to the same period last year, attributed largely to the 2016 Olympics.
At the same time, for TV, UBS Securities says these results came along with higher scatter pricing for TV networks in both the third and fourth quarters of 2017.
“We believe pricing is driven primarily by supply constraints (versus advertiser demand), with fourth-quarter C3 ratings [Nielsen average commercial minute ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing] declining for all network groups in our coverage — with [double-digit percentage] declines at most network groups,” writes Eric Sheridan, media analyst at UBS.
U.S. advertising for 2017 witnessed a 3% increase in the first quarter, followed by another 3% rise in the second. There was a 4% drop in the third quarter (due to the Summer Olympics in the same period in 2016), and a 1% hike in the fourth quarter.
Standard Media Index data, which formed the report UBS drew from, comes from major national TV media agency systems, representing 80% of U.S. media buying.