Forecast: 5% Broadcast Ad Gain in 2010

Broadcast networks’ advertising revenue will be up 5 percent in 2010, or 3 percent on an underlying basis, CBS chief research officer David Poltrack predicted today at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York.

In his annual appearance, he confirmed his 2009 forecast for a 7 percent decline, or 5 percent on an underlying basis.
He said the current year is on track to meet his projection. Earlier in the year, that 7 percent decline had actually looked too optimistic owing to a difficult upfront ad sales season amid the recession.

Poltrack offered data, along with some swipes at cable networks and NBC for not doing so well with new approaches to programming and business.

The CBS researcher argued that overnight ratings are no longer giving a full picture of viewership.

For example, all broadcast networks except for Fox are down in season-to-date ratings. But using Live-plus-7: ratings, CBS is also up for overall viewers, he said.

DVR replay now makes up one-quarter of prime-time viewing in key demos, according to Poltrack.

He also said that ad-supported cable-network ratings are down season-to-date, just like broadcast.

Poltrack opened his presentation by mentioning he just returned from China, quipping that the country’s upfront selling process is more efficient than the drawn-out negotiation process in the U.S.

Upfront ad commitments were up 18 percent in China, and the upfront was completed in a single day, he said.

See also: “Forecasts See Modest Ad Growth”

Nielsen Business Media