Cable Networks Register Sharp Declines

Summer isn’t exactly a strong ratings playground for cable networks anymore. Top cable networks' ratings continued their decline that began at the end of April -- down 6.8% in July to 18.17 million 18-49 viewers in C3 ratings, the average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted data, according to a report by MoffettNathanson Research.

Cable networks traditionally use the summer period to launch their original TV shows. But now broadcast networks also compete with original programming. Analysts note that the growth of digital media is also a factor.

Aereo Pushes To Resume Service In 6 Western States

Streaming video service Aereo is pushing forward with its argument that it should be allowed to resume operations on the grounds that it's now a “cable system” and entitled to transmit television programs as long as it pays licensing fees.

Aereo's latest round of court papers come in response to a motion by broadcasters for “summary affirmance” of US District Court Judge Dale Kimball's order enjoining Aereo from operating in six states: Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

TV Viewers Distracted By Other Video Screens

About 48% of prime-time TV viewers are double-timing the tube with other screens, whether using social media, checking email or shopping online, according to a study of 55,000 Internet users worldwide conducted by global research firm TNS.

This growing habit of “screen stacking” dovetails with the proliferation of devices and online video viewing. Insights like this are vital for marketers, as they shed light on emerging behavior that brands should consider when aiming to reach the distracted viewer.

US Ad Spend Hits $35B In Q1

Winter Olympics ad spending helped push up overall US advertising nearly 6% for the first quarter. US advertising revenue for the first three months of 2014 was $34.9 billion, with the Sochi games responsible for $600 million of incremental ad spend, according to Kantar Media.

Taking out the two-week sporting event, US ad spend climbed 4%. Broadcast network TV was among the biggest gainers in the period -- up 14.5%. Spanish-language TV grew 18%; cable TV increased 6.2%; spot TV gained 7%; and national TV syndication added 3.2%.

Overall, TV grew 9.7% in the first quarter of 2014 versus the first quarter of 2013.

Display Internet business was up 13% -- with financial, retail and insurance marketers aiding their budgets.

Newspapers, magazines, and radio lost ground overall -- giving back 5.0%, 1.6%, and 2.4%, respectively.

Media Buyers Push Smaller Upfront Rate Hikes, NBC Ups Volume

Broadcast networks, on the road to completing much of their upfront deal-making, are operating in a marketplace that is still concerned about weak pricing and volume gains.

"Broadcast is pretty much done; cable is moving slowly," says one veteran media-buying executive.

One issue of greater concern may be overall upfront broadcast volume. Initially, upfront broadcast volume was estimated to be down 1% to 3% from the $9.2 billion totals pulled in in 2013. Some of that money, according to executives, is being shifted to cable networks, which are poised to hit the $10 billion level in upfront advertising deals.

Network cable advertising sales executives believe much of the cable upfront process will take place soon. Some media executives are still alarmed that broadcast networks might be looking at greater overall volume losses in the upfront -- down about 5% versus 2013. This is due to viewership erosion, as well as TV marketers' efforts to shift money to cable networks and some digital video platforms.

But C7 still remains a wild card, other executives say -- depending on the number of upfront TV advertisers shifting to a C7 Nielsen viewing deal-making metric from C3. A marketplace shift to a C7 rating guarantee to marketers -- C7, the average commercial ratings plus seven days of time-shifted data -- could boost overall volume for national TV broadcasters about 2% to 3%. This will come from adding four days of viewing data from the current three days of time-shifted viewing metric.

TV Audience Only Partially Attentive To Ads

An explosion of marketers' messaging from TV, radio and online platforms doesn’t necessarily mean they receive full -- or even half of -- consumers' attention for those advertisements.

For example, of the 160 TV commercials each person is exposed to on a daily basis -- 75 minutes in total when considering the five hours a day spent watching TV content -- only 30%, or 23 minutes a day, gets “full attention” for those ads.

This comes from a recent analysis from Media Dynamics, a media research consultancy. Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics, says that 50% to 60% of the audience is only partially attentive when a commercial appears on the screen. Papazian says his estimates come from a number of third-party researchers, such as Simmons and MRI, as well as other studies.

Papazian tells Media Daily News: “The main point is that far from being bombarded with ads, as many seem to believe, most consumers are perfectly capable of controlling their intake of unwanted advertiser sales pitches by zapping the ads, by absenting themselves -- in the case of TV -- or by simply not paying attention.”

CBS Changes TV Model With Prime-Time NFL, 8 New Shows

Removed from its big overall 18-49 win in 2013, CBS -- long known as one of the most consistent networks by TV marketers -- will work a slightly different model this season, adding NFL Football on Thursdays and eight new shows in prime time.

Football, as well as year-round development, will accelerate a change for CBS when it comes to original programming.

“You are going to see some nights where there will be essentially no repeats through the season,” says Les Moonves, president/chief executive officer for CBS, speaking at a morning press conference before its upfront presentation.

Going forward, CBS says more original programming launching throughout the year will create new definitions for the industry. “We are officially retiring the phrase 'midseason',” says Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment.

China, Brazil Join Media's 'Top 30,' Google Expands Margin As No. 1

For the first time since it began ranking the world’s biggest media owners, Publicis' Zenith Optimedia unit says two Chinese companies have made its “Top Thirty Global Media Owners” list: China’s TV network CCTV and search engine Baidu.

They join Brazil’s Globo as the only Top Thirty based in “emerging markets.” Otherwise, the list looks like what you might expect, with Google on top -- by a wide margin -- as the world’s largest media owner.

In fact, ZO estimates Google’s revenues are 47% higher than the second-ranked company on the list, US satellite TV operator DirecTV. And Google’s dominance isn’t waning. It actually grew eight points from a 39% margin over DirecTV in 2013.

TV, Not Digital, Propels Madison Ave. Spending, Twitter Surges 155%

Digital media may have the fastest organic growth rates, but it was the traditional medium of television that catapulted Madison Avenue's media spending during the first quarter of 2014.

Total media buys processed by the major agency holding companies pooling their data through Standard Media Index jumped 18% over the first quarter of 2013, largely thanks to blockbuster TV events -- especially coverage of the Sochi Olympic Games, the NCAA college basketball tournament, the Academy Awards, and AMC's season finale of “Walking Dead.”

TV ad spending soared 21% and accounted for nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of all advertising buys processed by the four agency holding companies -- Aegis, Havas, Interpublic and Publicis -- during the fourth quarter. “Digital” spending also continued to soar, expanding 23% during the first quarter, albeit with a big boost from blockbuster-infused traditional media companies’ digital inventory. NBC Universal, for example, broke into the top 10 list of Madison Avenue’s “digital vendors” ranking, thanks to an Olympian 249% surge in its digital advertising revenues during the quarter.

Google Claims UK YouTube Users Watch Less TV

Looking to shift more media executives' minds to digital from TV, Google says nearly one-fifth of those watching YouTube are watching less TV.

A UK study found 19% of YouTube viewers are paying less attention to TV and that 17% are watching less TV overall. Three percent have stopped subscribing to premium cable networks and 1% have stopped watching TV entirely.

Some 1,583 UK respondents ages 13-64 were included in the study from June to September 2013: 1,171 were YouTube users, 412 were non-YouTube users.