TVB: Broadcast TV Ad Rev. Down 0.4% in ’08

Fourth quarter last year sent broadcast TV ad revenues tumbling. According to a Television Bureau of Advertising analysis of TNS Media Intelligence data, spot TV, syndication and network TV segments posted their worst quarter of the year, down 6.3 percent to $12 billion.

For the year, total broadcast ad revenue was down 0.4 percent to $46.4 billion.

Network TV took the biggest fourth-quarter hit among the three broadcast segments, down 9.3 percent to $6.4 billion, bouncing back to a slight decline of 0.1 percent to $25.4 billion for the total year. Spot TV fell 3.4 percent in fourth quarter to $4.6 billion, ending the year down 2.4 percent to $16.5 billion. Syndication’s fourth quarter was flat at $1.1 billion and was the only broadcast segment to grow last year, up 6.5 percent to $4.4 billion.

No surprise that local TV’s top category, automotive, declined 19.8 percent last year, even as political was up 664 percent, making it local broadcast’s fifth-largest category. Car and truck dealers also slashed budgets, spending 17 percent less in 2008.

A few local TV advertising categories besides political were up in 2008 including communications/telecommunications (4.7 percent); insurance (2.2 percent); financial (3.7 percent); schools, colleges and camps (4.4 percent); travel, hotels and resorts (2.8 percent); leisure time activities and events (1.3 percent); legal services (6.3 percent); food and food products (10.1 percent); and prescription medication and pharmaceutical (13.7 percent).