TV Stations Hope For More Digital Revenues, Await ATSC 3.0

While local TV stations groups struggle in their competitiion against digital media, there are also national TV advertising dollars to consider. But what’s the overall non-local traditional TV business plan?

Here’s one part from Sinclair Broadcast Group: “Our media network sales group is making further strides into the $50 billion pool of advertising dollars allocated to cable networks,” says Chris Ripley, president-CEO, Sinclair, in remarks to analysts while releasing its fourth-quarter earnings report.

Ripley pointed to the growth of new digital products, such as Compulse OTT -- a DMP for OTT inventory on over 100 TV networks/platforms, targeting 75 million households. Sinclair also owns the Tennis Channel, which sells national advertising time.

Other TV station groups have similar non-local TV businesses. Tegna, for example, has a similar OTT advertising service, Premion.

TV stations groups don’t reveal much in the way of annual revenue data for new digital business. It is still small sums in light ongoing bigger local TV station advertising and distribution revenue.



Overall, U.S. digital advertising going to local TV stations is around $1.1 billion, according to estimates, rising around 5% per year. But

It’s been an uneven performance at best. Yesterday, Nexstar Media Group said its digital advertising revenues grew just 3.3% to $65.1 million in the fourth quarter.

Just 3.3%? Isn’t digital advertising overall still growing at near 20% percentage gains, for virtually any platform? Why so weak growth for local TV?

Sinclair -- the biggest TV station group in the U.S. -- said its fourth-quarter digital businesses was up 23% and 33% for the full 2018 year. (It didn’t go into dollar specific details.)

Meantime, TV stations groups continue to seek out other non-core advertising local TV areas for growth. National TV, among others, are in their sights.

What does all this say? Many TV stations groups are still holding; they may slow adoption of the new TV standard called ATSC 3.0 that promises to change so much. But this is complicated; consumers also need to embrace the change.

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