Local TV ad revenue is sweet spot of 3rd quarter

Syndie, network sectors off slightly

Local TV stations have been getting their holiday presents early, with third-quarter ad revenue rising 10% compared with 2005.

The Television Bureau of Advertising said local TV stations raked in $4.7 billion in ad revenue in the period, up 10% compared with $4.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Local TV was the only one of the three broadcast TV sectors to register a rise in the quarter. TVB said syndicated TV ad revenue dropped 1%, from $1.08 billion in 2005 to $1.06 billion this year, and network TV revenue dipped from $5.08 billion to $5.05 billion.

The increase at the local TV level in large part was because of political advertising, which jumped 182% to $321.2 million, compared with $113.9 million last year. But most other ad categories also saw increases, including the largest category, automotive, which grew 9.7%. Motion picture advertising rose 15.7% to $101.6 million.

Most of the other top categories also were up, including restaurants (6.1%), telecommunications (30%), car/truck dealers (4.7%), furniture stores (2.7%), financial (4.3%) and schools/colleges (18.8%). Insurance/real estate was flat, as was the leisure time/activities category.

The biggest local advertiser in the third quarter was DaimlerChrysler AG, which jumped 8.3% to $154.3 million, just ahead of General Motors Corp. Dealer Assn., which rose 14.7% to $130.3 million. Also in the top five were the Ford Motor Co. Dealer Assn. (up 12.3%), Toyota Motor Corp. Dealer Assn. (down 7.5%) and General Motors Corp. (down 8%). AT&T Inc. dramatically increased its spending in spot TV in the quarter, up 133% to $70.3 million.

TVB's analysis is based on TNS Media Intelligence data, which includes spot TV activity in the top 100 markets.

For the first nine months of this year, all three sectors were up. Once again, spot TV led with a 7.6% increase to nearly $13 billion. Network TV rose 5.2% to $18.8 billion, and syndicated TV increased 3.2% to $3.2 billion. Network TV includes the WB, UPN and Spanish-language broadcast networks.
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