The Media Recession Is Coming, The Media Recession Is Coming -- Or Is It?

Economic headlines seem to offer nothing but gloom. And headlines about the media business are no exception.

But what if actual prospects for the economy just continue to remain “unclear?"

There is this from Kate Scott-Dawkins, global director of business intelligence at GroupM, speaking with Variety: “Our base case in the U.S. is still unclear [emphasis added] as to whether we get a recession or how deep it is.”

And this October 27 coverage by MarketWatch about the third quarter of this year: “GDP data show U.S. economy expanding by a greater-than-forecast 2.6%.” Wait a second -- how is that possible?

Why? Because the unemployment rate is still historically low and consumers are still spending -- even amid 8% inflation. 

"Americans may say they are worried about inflation, but they are still out shopping, which keeps the economy growing for another quarter," explains Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS, according to Reuters.



And employment is still growing, albeit slowly.  

From the media economy’s point of view, we see big companies like Warner Bros. Discovery, Meta, Snap, and others making significant staff cuts, having plans to do so, or slowing down new hiring.

One more vulnerable media/entertainment business that has taken more than its share of punches over recent years is the movie theater business.

Some theatrical proponents have said in the past that the movie business has bucked recessions with higher box-office revenues -- in six of the last eight recessions.

Another indication could come in the first quarter of 2023 with the TV business -- from both linear and streaming. National TV brand marketers have historically had the option to cancel up to 25% of their upfront TV advertising buys made during summer -- an option that climbs to upwards of 50% in the second and third quarters.

Early indications of possible reductions will begin to show themselves in the fourth-quarter weeks, just before the New Year commences.

And there is this: Standard Media Index says the TV ad market has seen year-over-year declines in U.S. ad spending since June.

Negative signs outweighing the positive? Top-flight experts have blown the reading of where the economy has been headed before -- especially on the verge of hard times.

This makes for a cloudy media view.

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