ZenithOptimedia Forecasts Ad Growth for Cable, Spot TV


Media agency ZenithOptimedia is projecting a 3.6% increase in ad spending for 2012, but that network TV won't be sharing the gains.
Zenith says growth will be stronger in 2013 and 2014 and that the gains will stem from increased spending on the Internet, primarily mobile and social networking.
TV dollars will continue to move from the broadcast networks to cable, according to the agency, which adds that "the trend will likely continue as cable networks continue to add quality programming to their lineups."
Zenith forecasts that broadcast network TV revenues will be down 1% in 2012 and cable will show a 10% increase. The agency expects syndication spending to be off 12%.
Broadcast's slide will accelerate, showing a 2.5% decline in 2013 and a 3% drop in 2014, according to Zenith. In part, broadcast losses come as sports, including Olympic programming and college football's BCS bowls move to cable.
The largest spenders in network TV continue to be automotive, quick-serve restaurants, pharmaceutical and telecoms, the agency says, citing Nielsen.
Cable networks that offer original programming as an alternative to broadcast prime will continue to build momentum, according to Zenith. After its 10% growth in 2012, the agency expects cable to draw a 10.4% increase in spending in 2013 and 11% in 2014.
Zenith says that cable networks are taking the lead in terms of using social media and other digital media to reinforce programming. "Viewers seem to respond particularly well to network events," Zenith says. "As advertisers seek more ways to engage their fragmented, multitasking audience, we expect to see more social TV events taking place in the future."
Cable networks are also experimenting with using multiplatform content to create engagement. Zenith notes that during the latest season of Top Chef on Bravo, the cable network launched an original internet series Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen. Thanks to a fan contest and a social media campaign, more than a quarter of the television Top Chef audience watched the internet series, resulting in 8 million live streams, the agency said.
Gaming is also becoming a factor in TV with multitasking viewers, Zenith said. AMC's The Walking Dead social game, which allows fans into the world of the show, is an example of a tie-in game that was well-received by viewers, according to the agency.
Zenith foresees syndicated spending dropping 12% in 2012, 10.5% in 2013 and 11% in 2014.
The spot marketplace for 2012 will be volatile because of the presidential election. On top of that, the Olympics should bring money to broadcast, said the agency, which is forecasting an 8% increase this year. For 2013, Zenith sees spot growing 3% in 2013 and 4% in 2014.