U.S. TV Advertising To Drop 12% In 2020: Analyst

U.S. TV advertising is set to sink 11.7% in 2020, with lesser declines for local TV stations and local cable operations, due to COVID-19-related advertising pullbacks, according to a recent analysis.

MoffettNathanson Research estimates the total U.S. TV advertising market will sink to $67.3 billion from $76.2 billion in 2019 -- with national broadcast networks down 14% (to $13.0 billion) and national cable networks dropping 16% (to $25.8 billion).

At the same time, U.S. TV stations will sink 5.3% (to $20.1 billion) and local cable will be down 4.8% (to $4.6 billion) -- thanks to what is anticipated to be a still-strong political advertising season.

Pre-COVID-19, U.S. TV stations and local cable were estimated to grow 10% and 7.6%, respectively.

An earlier estimate anticipated a 3.9% climb for U.S. TV advertising -- due to advertising sales from the Tokyo Summer Olympics and higher political advertising spending.

Actual first-quarter results showed a 2.4% decline to $11.7 billion, helped by earlier-year political advertising revenue gains going mostly to traditional local TV and local cable.

Analysis of first-quarter results showed a 10% rise for TV stations (to $1.95 billion) and a 3.2% uptick for local cable (to $1.03 billion).

National TV was down 5.5% to $8.7 billion, with much of the drop occurring in the last three weeks in March. An earlier estimate projected a much worse sinking -- 9%.

Live TV sports programing -- NCAA basketball, NBA basketball, NHL hockey, and Major League Baseball, and other sports, stopped operations at that time. This July/August’s Tokyo Summer Olympics has been postponed until 2021.

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