TVB: Spot TV Revenue to Dip in 2009

Spot TV is in for another rough year in 2009. According to the Television Bureau of Advertising’s annual forecast released Thursday (Sept. 4) at its annual forecast conference in New York, spot TV revenue will be down between 2 percent and 5 percent, compared to 2008. Local spot is expected to be the strongest segment, down 1 percent to up 2 percent, while national spot, which has been soft this year, will continue the trend into 2009, down 5 percent to down 2 percent.

TVB’s forecast follows a disappointing 2008 for TV stations, which were expecting a bullish 9-10 percent revenue increase. Instead, a shrinking automotive category, down 13.5 percent in the first half of 2008 and a soft ad economy led to a year-to-date revenue decrease of 5 percent. Spot TV’s share of automotive advertising has shrunk from a high of 30.4 percent in 2002 to 27.4 percent in the first half of this year.

The bright spot for TV stations are their Web sites. This year, local online TV revenue will hit the one million-dollar milestone to $1.16 billion, according to Borrell Associates.

In 2009, the TVB projected online revenue to grow between 25 percent and 35 percent in 2009. Revenue from wireless initiatives will grow between 25 percent and 50 percent.

As part of its two-year forecast, the TVB also issued a more positive forecast for 2010, an even-numbered year positively influenced by an influx of Olympics and political dollars. Total spot will rise between 6 percent and 10 percent, with local spot up 1.5 percent to 5.5 percent and national spot rising between 12.5 and 16.5 percent. Station Web site revenue will increase 20 percent to 25 percent and station wireless revenue will grow between 35 percent and 75 percent.
The TVB’s forecast is based on estimates from a consensus of Wall Street and financial analysts, station representative firms and independent TVB research.