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TVB: Spot TV to Dip in 2009

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NEW YORK Spot TV is in for another rough year in 2009.

According to the Television Bureau of Advertising's annual forecast released Thursday, spot TV revenue will be down between 2 percent to 5 percent compared to 2008. Local spot is expected to be the strongest segment (-1 percent to +2 percent), while national spot, which has been soft this year, will continue that trend into '09, down perhaps as much as 5 percent.

TVB's forecast follows a disappointing 2008 for TV stations, which were expecting a bullish 9-10 percent revenue increase. Instead, a shrinking automotive category (down 13.5 percent in the first half) and a soft ad economy led to a year-to-date revenue dip of 5 percent. Spot TV's share of automotive advertising has shrunk from a high of 30.5 percent in 2002 to 27.5 percent in the first half of this year.

The bright spot for stations is their Web sites. This year, local online TV revenue will pass the $1 billion mark and surge to $1.16 billion, according to Borrell Associates.

The TVB projects online revenue to grow 25-35 percent in 2009. Revenue from wireless initiatives will grow 25-50 percent.

As part of its two-year forecast, the TVB also issued a more positive projection for 2010, an even-numbered year positively influenced by an influx of Olympics and political dollars. Total spot will rise 6-10 percent, with local spot up 1.5-5.5 percent and national spot rising 12.5-16.5 percent. Station Web site revenue will increase 20-25 percent and wireless revenue could leap 75 percent.

The TVB's forecast is based on estimates from a consensus of Wall Street and financial analysts, station representative firms and independent TVB research.