TV ad sales looking solid for second half

Financial estimates on Wall Street could move higher

NEW YORK -- TV executives, CEOs of entertainment giants and Wall Street analysts have all predicted continued strong TV advertising sales in the back-half of the year, even though ad growth rates may slow down somewhat after a red-hot first half.

Two reports Thursday morning added latest ad data points of interest to industry trackers.

Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible said that scatter, or current market, ad pricing "looks to be pacing up 15%-20% on average while the upfront deals may provide an 8%-9% pricing increase base to grow off with the start of the new broadcast season."

His conclusion is that financial estimates on Wall Street "could move higher if these rates are accurate and are sustainable over the course of the next year."

However, he also highlighted that earnings conference call comments from Walt Disney, Time Warner and Discovery Communications "imply we may see a modest deceleration in the coming quarter."

Given the unclear economic future and tougher year-ago ad comparisons in 2011, the Street will be "more focused on incremental signs of economic health or deterioration," Wible predicted.

On average, second-quarter broadcast and cable advertising revenue rose 5.9% and 13.4%, respectively, the analyst summarized the latest quarter.

Also Thursday, the New York Post reported that top cable network players, including parts of TW's Turner unit, NBC Universal's USA and Discovery channels, have nearly sold out their ad inventory in the current third quarter. It didn't detail pricing trends.

"The third quarter and fourth quarter are still very strong, even though the economy isn't where we thought it would be," David Levy, chief of Turner's ad sales told the Post.
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