The national advertising market grew five percent during 2018’s second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to national advertising revenue data released this week by ad data experts Standard Media Index.

A strong uptick in the digital market was behind these gains, which saw a 12 percent year-over-year surge, followed by the out-of-home advertising market, at nine percent. Other platforms revealed lackluster performances: both national TV and radio dipped by one percent, and print fell by an abysmal 22 percent.


Overall, national TV ad revenue declined in Q2, but cable news proved to be an outlier in this medium, with the five cable news networks — FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and HLN — reporting a combined 16 percent year-over-year growth.

Broadcast news, meanwhile, reported Q2 loses of six percent, and has lost revenue every month so far this year, according to the SMI report.

Overall, entertainment TV revenue in Q2 was flat, but primetime original programming saw impressive gains, with comedies up 19.5 percent, reality shows up 2.5 percent and dramas up .9 percent.

By contrast, the industry simultaneously experienced a six percent decrease in sports ad spending, due, in part, to significant losses reported as a result of changes to the NCAA Basketball and NBA Finals schedules.

When it comes to advertiser categories across all platforms, the telecommunications industry was the biggest spender in Q2, increasing two percent year-over-year, followed by autos (up 10 percent), prescription pharmaceuticals (17 percent), quick serve restaurants (23 percent), and specialty retailers (one percent).

In terms of advertiser category across national TV, the prescription pharmaceutical industry continued to outspend other sectors, surging 19 percent spend compared to last year, followed by insurance.

SMI reports on advertising sales in the U.S. market through data supplied by the five of the seven major media agency holding groups.