Standard Media Index (SMI) reports that the total advertising market grew four percent year over year in March and was up eight percent for first quarter 2016 compared to 2015. Television and digital media were the big winners in March and in Q1, as both segments registered significant increases in advertising revenues.

The digital sector grew 16 percent in March and 20 percent in the first quarter. SMI attributes that growth to an uptick in spending on premium digital properties. Television grew two percent in March, and four percent in this first quarter.

“These results continue to reinforce the strength of the major TV networks in an increasingly fragmented market,” says James Fennessy, SMI’s CEO. “Large, engaged and measurable audiences that advertisers have confidence in have seen the medium deliver terrific results in recent months. Our data clearly shows a number of major categories, like CPG and auto, moving money back into TV after a lot of experimenting with digital last year. Concerns around viewability and measurement have caused marketers to reassess their mix and we’ve seen television as the major beneficiary here.”

Cable networks registered year-over-year declines in March. Softer ratings in the sector have affected ad volumes, with recent reports suggesting a five percent year-over-year ratings. Television’s market share in first quarter, compared to the same period in 2015, has dropped two points to 54.4 percent of the total ad market.

Fennessey adds, “The overall news hasn’t been so great for many of the cable networks with continued soft ratings biting into revenue growth. Hopefully, new total audience measurement initiatives will soon provide a more holistic picture of viewership on all platforms, which should translate into better revenue for everyone in the sector. Premium video and social are the key growth drivers for digital and it’s clear that more reliable measurements make these mediums far more attractive for advertisers.”

Other media sectors recorded softer performances in March. Magazine, newspaper, out of home and radio sectors all registered year-over-year percentage decreases in the single to double-digit range.

Click here for more on SMI’s advertising market findings, and watch for key findings from PPAI’s 2015 Annual Estimate of Distributor Sales to be announced by late spring, with a full report on industry sales and forecasts, top programs and product categories, plus 2015 expenditures for selected media, to be released this summer in PPB magazine.