Laura Silton, senior vp/director of local broadcast at McCann-Erickson, is among the underwhelmed. 'The economy has been coming back, but it's a mixed picture,' she says. Silton believes that, after reining in ad spending for several years, companies may be ready to spend more on spot.
But she cautions that the marketplace is only 'somewhat restored,' especially where retailers are concerned. Retail is the most crucial element of the spot market because it eats up so much of the inventory at any given station.
Besides local retail, some of the ad categories important to spot include packaged goods, fast foods, telephone companies, national retailers and two of last season's biggest spot categories - movies and autos. When the spot market fell into a summertime lull this year, buyer and reps say those two areas kept things afloat.
One local broadcast director at an agency that ranks in the top 10 for spot billings says she expects the '93-94 spot market to be flat. She figures movies and autos will continue to be the spot TV industry's best spenders and believes packaged-goods manufacturers - who decreased spot spending last season - are likely to continue their pullback.
The network upfront, which has been down for some time, is another reason for a lack of enthusiasm about spot's prospects this season. Spot buyers watch the upfront for the same reason they watch the economy - they're looking for clues about advertisers' spending moods.
One of those made wary by the upfront is Susan Duffy of Kelly, Scott and Madison. Duffy expects spot to be flat because of continued upfront weakness.
Local news is the one consistently tight demo in spot because there's so little of it available. Advertisers - especially automakers - love the upscale, male viewers the programming attracts.
To satisfy these news-hungry advertisers, more stations are airing local news shows in the early morning hours. Indeed, early local news is a growing daypart, with stations adding news programs in the 6-7 a.m. time slot. The result is that many stations are either pushing network fare back into the wee hours of the morning or pre-empting it altogether.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)