Spot revenue down, ad group says

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NEW YORK -- It's been a tough year for local TV, and the third quarter was no exception.

Spot television ad revenue dropped 9% in the third quarter compared to 2006, according to a study of TNS Media Intelligence's top 100 markets done by the New York-based trade group Television Bureau of Advertising. All of broadcast TV -- including syndication and network -- were down in the third quarter and for the first nine months of the year.

TVB tagged the decline to its often-stated quadrennial effect -- or in this case, a biennial effect -- where an off-year for elections and Olympics hits local broadcast TV hard. The comparisons are tough thanks to a record political spending year in 2006 as well as the impact of the Winter Olympics last February. Political spending plunged 67% in the third quarter, one of 17 of the top 25 ad categories that declined compared to 2006. Also seeing declines were automotive, the local TV industry's biggest category, as well as restaurants, furniture stores, insurance and financial. Telecom was up, as was food products and travel.

Fourteen of the top 25 advertisers in spot TVv were also down, including General Motors Corp. Dealers Assn. (down 6%); Chrysler (down 26%); and Ford Motor Co. Dealers Assn. (down 5%). The last two in the top five, AT&T and Nissan Motor Co., were up. Verizon Communications was the only other of the top 10 advertisers to be up.

Local broadcast TV was down 6% for the first nine months of 2007, TVB said.
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