Local TV Ad Revenue Up 21%

NEW YORK Local TV ad revenue jumped 21 percent in the fourth quarter, boosting the overall 2006 take 11 percent compared with 2005, according to data released by TNS Media Intelligence and analyzed by the Television Bureau of Advertising.

After a lean 2005, local TV sprang back to life with not only increases in political advertising but also jumps in each of the 10 ad categories tracked by TBA and TNS.

Local TV tallied $5.7 billion in Q4 2006 compared with $4.7 billion in the year-ago period. Full-year revenue was $18.7 billion in 2006 compared with $16.7 billion in 2005.

The top advertising category remained automotive, up 13 percent in the quarter to $1.3 billion. In second place was government/organizations—which would include political—that totaled $710 million compared with $193 million in fourth-quarter 2005. Restaurants (up 16 percent to $395 million), telecommunications (up 35 percent to $392 million) and car/truck dealers (up 9 percent to $251 million) rounded out the top five.

Only a handful of categories were down in the top 25, including food/food products, discount department stores and department stores, toiletries/cosmetics and home electronics/video stores.

The top advertiser was the General Motors Dealers Association, which increased spending 16 percent to $158 million in the fourth quarter, as the DaimlerChrysler AG Dealers cut spending 14 percent to $132 million.

The Ford, Honda and Toyota dealers associations rounded out the top five with increases.

Toyota and AT&T hiked spending by triple digits to land in the top 10. GM cut spending 27 percent to $61.5 million in the quarter, however. Verizon Communications and General Mills also cut spending among the top 25 and Target Corp. was mostly flat.

Meanwhile, TNS said network TV was down 6 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2005, but up 2 percent for the full year. Syndicated TV was down 8 percent in Q4 and flat for the full year.