The fall-off is due in part to tough comparisons with 2002, a year that enjoyed a political ad spending boom, as well as the 2004 Winter Olympics on NBC. Neither of those factors, however, should have impacted fourth quarter network advertising sales, suggesting that the reputed surge in network advertising demand during the 2003-04 upfront may have been a false indicator of long-term demand.
The TVB findings come after the Broadcast Cable Financial Management association released similar findings based on self-reported data from the Big 3 broadcast networks.
Q4, Full Year '03 Broadcast TV Ad Spending
Local Syndicated Network Total
Q4 2003 Dollars: $4.420 $0.9 $4.580 $9.924
Vs. Q4 2002: -12.7% +12.3% -26.6% -18.2%
Full Year '03: $16.244 $3.396 $20.804 $40.444
Vs. Full Year'02: -5.4% +15.3% -5.6% -4.0%
Source: Television Bureau of Advertising analysis of data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.