Local TV Advertising Forecast: Flat Overall, Broadcast TV Double-Digit Declines In 2023

Whatever problems you think have plagued legacy local advertising platforms, from a whole market point of view, will change little next year compared to 2022.

But long term, what's the plan for ads on local TV? Borrell Associates is estimating nearly flat results for U.S. local advertising -- up just 0.6% to $121.5 billion in 2023.

It is somewhat predictable that broadcast TV will suffer the biggest drop next year, with double-digit-percentage declines, due to comparisons to strong political advertising in 2022. It could bring in $8 billion to $9 billion this year, with around $4 billion or so going to broadcast TV. 

A broader picture of all traditional media including print, broadcast, outdoor, and cable TV will show declines less severe -- down 6.5%. Digital ad spending will again be the star -- gaining modestly. but definitely slower-moving, with a 5.2% hike next year.



The good news, existentially, may be that we should not count on the recent past to get a sense of where we might be going.

Corey Elliott, executive vice president for local market intelligence of Borrell, said in a release:  “Anybody trying to forecast 2023 based solely on past trends is going to have a tough time.” Borrell identifies “high propensity businesses” -- 6.2 million -- as those designated for sustained success and growth.

Long term, of course, TV stations increasingly look to shift from stagnant core TV station advertising efforts to more from political advertising and retransmission revenue, as well as OTT and digital.

Improved audience targeting -- as well as better programmatic/automated ad-buying systems -- are what marketers are looking for. One positive sign: Local OTT ad dollars are expected to exceed $2.0 billion for the year, more than double from 2020, according to BIA Advisory Services.

While advertisers are moving largely to grow these services, there are no appreciable gains in core advertising for local TV over the years.

Nexstar Media Group, for example, just posted digital revenue at $252 million for its recent nine-month period -- up 14% versus the same period a year ago. Total TV station advertising revenues were at $1.5 billion, down 2.1%.

The new TV station broadcast standard -- ATSC 3.0 -- promises much for local TV advertisers -- but the trend line is still a long one for overall reach to be at a sustainable level.

Even then, will real, easy, programmatic local TV automation fully catch up by then?

How about digital audience targeted, specific revenues?

1 comment about "Local TV Advertising Forecast: Flat Overall, Broadcast TV Double-Digit Declines In 2023".
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  1. Gordon Borrell from Borrell Associates, November 12, 2022 at 4:02 p.m.

    If anyone wants to join the 11/17 webinar where we release the results, the registration link is here:

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