TV Ad Sales to Fall 13 Percent in 2020 Amid Virus Crisis, Magna Forecasts

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The firm says that advertising across all platforms will fall by 2.8 percent this year.

Calling the fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic "unprecedented," the advertising research firm Magna Global predicts that U.S. TV advertising will drop by 13 percent in 2020, revising its earlier forecast of a 1 percent decline.

The company says that advertising across all platforms will fall by 2.8 percent this year, revising its earlier forecast of 6.6 percent growth.

The travel, restaurant and movie industries will be the most likely to pull back their ad spend, with automotive, retail and finance also pressured. Home entertainment and e-commerce may be positioned to boost their ad spend to take advantage of the unusual market dynamics.

"The current situation is totally unprecedented, but the closest historical equivalent would be a combination of the Great Recession and 9/11; a brutal economic downturn and a ‘Black Swan’ national disaster," Vincent Letang, executive vp global market research, Magna, said Thursday in a statement tied to the research.

Added Letang, "Its effects on supply, demand and media consumption are more complex and widespread than in any ‘normal’ economic recession in the past, and some of them will outlast the current crisis. Nevertheless, there will be an ‘after.’"

Magna is predicting that the market will stabilize in the second half of 2020, with moderate growth in 2021. It expects overall ad sales to rise 2.5 percent in 2021, up from its prior forecast of 1.4 percent. The postponed Olympics, combined with the decline in 2020, account for the revision.