Better Days

The key word here is “multitasking.” While some industry analysts talk about consumer erosion in one medium for the sake of another, TV never killed the radio star. It just created different stars. So, it seems likely that people will be reading, viewing, listening and using media as it suits their needs.

That’s not to say it isn’t a jungle out there. Competition for eyeballs is still fierce. And in forecasting next year’s advertising spending, media analysts and executives are not looking through rose-colored TV screens. But any media industry executive worth his salt is always up for a good fight. And, as our reporters in this issue confirm, executives from radio to magazines to television are working on ways to retain, and gain, both audience and advertisers.

While some magazine categories are flailing (teen titles are toughing it out in a crowded market), the shopping magazine phenomenon has exploded, with at least six more new titles set to launch this year. Radio is introducing new formats such as Progressive Talk and Jack FM (“we play anything” is the mantra, reports Katy Bachman). Newspapers have lost some retail advertising, but by promoting their reach, have been able to lure national advertisers. New networks and higher quality programming have propelled cable spending. In fact, reports Megan Larson, “a handful of cable networks wrapped the majority of their business before the broadcast networks began to negotiate”—a first in television advertising. And, of course, network TV this year matched the record $9.3 billion it took in during last year’s upfront, proving yet again that you can’t beat that mass reach.

Concern about the economy tempers some forecasts. And emerging technologies, such as satellite radio and PVRs, raise concern over how advertisers will continue to access consumers. Still, the predictions are for spending to rise, however slowly, across the board.

Patricia Orsini

Editor, Special Reports