TVB Sees Signs of Life for Local Broadcast

Signs of an advertising turnaround for the local broadcast TV business emerged in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a healthier Q1 in 2010, according to a Television Bureau of Advertising analysis of Kantar Media data.
The revenue decline for broadcast slowed as the year progressed. It fell 4.5 percent in Q4 compared to a full-year drop of 12.9 percent to $40.4 billion.
The hardest-hit segment, spot TV, was down 13.8 percent in Q4, compared to a full-year slide of 23.6 percent to $12.6 billion. Network TV grew in Q4, up 3.3 percent compared to a 7.2 percent decline for the year to $23.6 billion.
Syndication was the only TV segment that did not improve in the fourth quarter: It was down 10.7 percent compared to a 4.9 percent drop for the year to $4.2 billion. 
“Local broadcast television revenues are definitely improving, judging by the anecdotal evidence from our stations and the preliminary numbers we’ve seen,” said Susan Cuccinello, svp of research for the TVB.
Among local broadcast’s top 10 advertisers, half increased budgets in the final quarter of 2010.
Increasing budgets were No. 1 Chrysler Group (+28 percent); No. 2 AT&T (+ 20.6 percent); No. 3 Toyota Motor Dealers (+16.1 percent); No. 4 Ford Motor Co. Dealers (+33.4 percent); and No. 10 McDonald’s (+34 percent).
Advertisers that decreased spending were No. 5 Verizon Communications (-14.2 percent); No. 6 General Mills (-16.4 percent); No. 7 Honda Motors (-33.8 percent); No. 8 General Motors (-5.6 percent); and No. 9 Comcast (-25.7 percent).