NEW YORK In a year when political advertising should have boosted TV station revenues, the industry is poised to end 2008 down 7 percent to $20.1 billion, the lowest in seven years, according to a BIA Advisory Services report. Next year's forecast is even more grim with revenue dropping 8.5 percent.
The good news is that BIA is expecting the economy to recover in 2010. Coupled with several close congressional races, revenue is expected to climb 6.4 percent.
While no station or region of the country is immune to the economy, negative revenue numbers this year were higher on the East and West Coasts, down 8.2 and 7.6 percent, respectively. Stations in the Midwest fared slightly better, down 5.8 percent.
To improve ad market conditions, BIA urged stations to concentrate more on cross-platform opportunities. "In 2009 look for cross-media bundles bringing together television, radio, newspapers and online services as a way to improve overall revenues," said Peter Krasilovksy, vp and program director of marketplaces for The Kelsey Group, a division of BIA.
Multicasting is also a strong prospect for additional revenue. By 2012, BIA estimated that stations could generate an additional $1.1 billion from multicasting to various mobile platforms.
"With the steady improvement of their online and mobile presence, they now need to demonstrate to their advertisers the significant value proposition they can offer through a bundled advertising package," said Mark Fratrik, vp of BIA.