MoffettNathanson Research now expects that national TV advertising will decline 8.6% in the first quarter to $9.16 billion -- a slightly better forecast than its earlier 8.9% estimate, but “still a disappointing number,” say the authors.
Broadcast networks will dip 20% to $3.87 billion -- largely due to NBC’s Olympics in the first quarter of 2014. Cable networks are forecast to rise 1.5% to $5.3 billion. Taking out the NBC’s Olympics of a year ago, broadcast will drop 2.5%, with cable up 3.1%.
Fox is expected to decline 34% to $697 million, but taking out its Super Bowl results of a year ago will lower the network’s first-quarter “core” advertising national take by 7%.
NBC will be down significantly, due to the absence of nearly $850 million in Olympics advertising money from a year ago, giving it a total of $1.823 billion.
This year, MoffettNathanson expects NBC to bring in $1.277 billion -- which, for its “core” advertising revenue, will mean nearly a 30% bump for its network and TV stations. Much of this gain will be attributed to the Super Bowl.
CBS is now expected to sink 3.8% to $1.13 billion; and ABC is forecast to slip 1% to $770 million.
The best individual cable network group will be Disney’s networks, in particular, thanks to ESPN and the College Football playoff series in January. MoffettNathanson expects Disney to be 18.2% higher to $1.02 billion; AMC Networks, which saw big gains from “The Walking Dead,” will add 18% to $245 million.
On the losing end is Viacom, estimated to be off 5% to $964 million, while Discovery will sink 1% to $369 million. Time Warner's group of cable networks -- including TNT, TBS, CNN and others -- will be up 2% to $1.0 billion.