The coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on the advertising market in May, new data shows.

Last month, US advertising revenue plummeted 31 percent with the postponement of big-ticket sporting events dragging down big media companies like Disney, owner of ESPN, according to a new report from StandardMedia Tracker, which tracks media spend.

According to the data, media giants Disney and WarnerMedia logged some of the steepest ad declines last month due to a delay in the NBA playoffs, which typically take place in May and is broadcast by Disney’s ABC and ESPN and WarnerMedia’s TNT.  The lack of the playoffs caused WarnerMedia ad revenue to fall by 45.5 percent during the month while Disney saw its ad sales dip by 39.6 percent, the data said.

The coronavirus-embattled travel industry slashed its ad spend by a whopping 87 percent, the most in any category, the report said. Automotive ad spend dipped by 60 percent, followed by apparel and accessories ad spend, which fell 57 percent.

Restaurants pulled back by 52 percent and retailers slashed their budget by 45 percent. Tech ad spending fell 25 percent and advertising from financial-services advertisers was off 13 percent. The only sector to spend more in May than they did a year earlier was the pharmaceutical industry, which increased its ad spend by 4 percent.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft saw some of the smallest drops in ad revenue in part because they are less reliant on sports. Digital media companies accounted for a 50 percent share of all ad dollars, StandardMedia said, up from 47 percent in April and 43 percent during the first quarter.

Most companies slashed their ad spend by 10 percent or more, the report said, although May’s dismal numbers were better than the 35 percent decline in ad spend in April — providing some signs of hope, said Standard Media Index Chief Executive Officer James Fenessy.

“There is anticipated improvement in the market conditions as live sports gradually returns in June,” Fennessy said. “Although annual year-over-year growth is not expected, smaller declines will be the new norm.”

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