Though consumers continue to watch TV in record numbers, TV station operators are expected to end 2009 with another drop in revenue. This latest trend in lower industry revenue began in 2006 when TV stations recorded $22.8 billion in sales. The 2009 expected total revenue of $15.6 billion is a 22.4% drop from 2008. BIA/Kelsey analysts note that this level is comparable to what the industry earned in the mid-1990s.
The industry is expected to see slight improvements for 2010. Projected total industry revenue next year are $16.1 billion. About 4% of total revenue or $648 million will be generated by online activity. Analysts predict that online revenue for TV stations will top $1 billion in 2013. At that point, online sources will account for 6.9% of total TV station business activity and represent opportunities for stations to “get more sophisticated in the way they sell to advertisers and integrate their mobile and Internet offerings with their broadcasting operations,” according to Mark Fratrik, Ph.D., vice president, BIA Advisory Services.
Both the general economy and changes in advertising budgets contribute to the decline in local station revenue. Bright spots in 2010 will stem from local and state elections. And while TV stations appear to be struggling to return to growth, Fratrik indicates that this media form “remains a valuable way to reach relatively larger audiences, critical for mass communications in political campaigns.”
In any event, it’s good news for TV stations to be looking at growth numbers for the future.[Source: BIA/Kelsey release, 12.22.09]