SMI: National TV Ad Spending Up 2% in May

Lopsided NBA playoffs produce lower sports revenue

National TV ad spending rose 2% in May from a year ago, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.

Broadcast networks registered a 1% increase, while cable networks posted a 2% gain.

Sports programming — usually one of the strongest segments of the TV business — was down in May, off 5% on both broadcast and cable. While commercial prices were higher for the NBA playoffs on ESPN, ABC and Turner by more than 10%, the playoffs saw six fewer games than last year as eventual finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors crushed their opponents, reducing revenue by $424 million, or 9%.

For NBC, Stanley Cup playoff revenue was down 3%, despite having one extra game.

Cable news remained very strong, with revenue jumping 17%. MSNBC climbed 43%, Fox News Channel was up 14%, and CNN gained 12%. With Bill O’Reilly’s The O'Reilly Factor off the board, the most expensive spots were on FNC's Tucker Carlson Tonight, at $14,100. Spots on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show were up 69%.