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Covid-19’s early impact on the TV advertising industry will become starker over the next week, as more media companies announce their first quarter earnings. Last week, AT&T reported a 24.1% year-over-year quarterly decline in advertising revenue among its Turner networks, due in part to the coronavirus-related cancellation of March Madness and NBA games.
Most media companies are facing billions in lost domestic ad revenue related to Covid-19—caused by the cancellation of live sports and the abrupt exit of major TV advertising categories like travel—while also grappling with a Hollywood production shutdown that is depleting their content pipeline.