Live News, Sports May Determine If Legacy Media Succeeds At Streaming

Feel good about all those 20% to 30% and more price increases when it comes to upfront advertising CPMs (the cost per thousand viewers) for legacy TV/media companies?

Pull back your enthusiasm a bit.

Traditional U.S advertising revenue for major legacy-based TV companies was down 9.7% in the second quarter 2021 from the same period in 2019 to $8.2 billion, when looking at nine major companies: Walt Disney, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia’s Turner networks, Discovery, AMC Networks, ViacomCBS and Fox Corp.

Estimated data comes from MoffettNathanson Research.

Disney did the best, falling just 3.5% to $1.7 billion. NBCU was next, losing 8.3% to $2.1 billion. Turner lost 9.3% to $1.01 billion.

The next four were in the double-digit percentage category: Discovery, declining 10% to $1.04 billion; AMC Networks, giving back 10.3% to $197 million; ViacomCBS at a 14% reduction to $1.6 billion.

Fox was sharply lowered -- 18.4% to $540 million. In part, the report says Fox had unfavorable comparisons versus the high-rated/ad revenue Women’s World Cup in June 2019, and other viewing issues.



The report notes “some of the traditional advertising estimates and reported historicals here include digital advertising or authenticated network apps.”

We know what is going on and where the business is headed -- an overall trend for the fast-growing streaming and connected TV platform business.

Looking at the addition of digital advertising, surveying the same nine companies -- shows a slightly different story -- slipping a 1.5% collective decline to $9.7 billion in the period. Which means there is still more work to be done.

Disney has done the best here -- up 8% to $2.45 million for the quarter, in large part because of Hulu.
Viacom is right behind, virtually even with 2019 -- slipping 0.7% in overall linear and digital advertising to $2.1 billion. Free, ad-supported video service, Pluto TV is a major factor for the company.

Laggards so far: Discovery (down 3.9%); NBCU (slipping 4%); Fox (down 8%); Turner (falling 9.3% and AMC (declining 10.3%)

While growth has been rapidly moving in the streaming/digital direction, one still needs to access what might be left for linear TV. For many, that’s news and sport programming.

At the same time, the news/sports isn’t sitting in a static place.

NBCU says sports TV has been an important growth piece for Peacock, its streamer. Peacock will give subscribers access to “Sunday Night Football” this fall. That’s a big deal. It will be simulcast with the NBC Television Network.

ViacomCBS points to the same promise. The biggest sports programming, the NFL, will see simulcast Sunday afternoon games on Paramount+ and CBS Television Network.

News is also headed in the same direction. CNN+ has joined Fox Nation and CBSN in the space in the streaming race.

So there you have it -- news and sports, which continue to be major live TV genres for marketers, moving to streaming. Will these two content contributors be key factors in what companies claim additional streaming success?

1 comment about "Live News, Sports May Determine If Legacy Media Succeeds At Streaming".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 10, 2021 at 12:22 p.m.

    The important point, Wayne, is who controls the news and premium sports content as it becomes available on streaming as well as "linear TV". The answer for now seems to be the "linear TV" folks who will find ways to use news and sports---plus specials----to lure and hold SVOD/AVOD subscribers while at the same time capturing huge advertising revenues for this type of programming for both venues.

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