This information comes from presentations at this week's Television Bureau of Advertising conference in New York.
All this would seem like a good sign--but unfortunately, not against local TV's chief rival, local newspapers. Internet sites operated by local newspapers totaled $2 billion in revenue, more than nine times what local TV stations' Web sites took in--$283 million. In 2004, that number was $119 million.
Still, double is double. TV stations have been battered around, for sure--with iTunes deals from its networks looking to take possible local ad revenue away; with a weaker than expected 2005 local TV sales total, down nearly 10 percent; with a slumping TV automotive category; with growing local cable and now the Internet competitors ready to grab more of their ad pay day.
It doesn't sound like much, $283 million, especially against the $16.7 billion revenue received by TV stations last year the old-fashioned way--through the TV airwaves.
On the first day of the TBA conference, executive after executive implored stations to create more Internet-related business.
Some of this can work. TV stations have one tool few other competing media can claim--the still powerful and valuable local TV commercial airtime. Add this to their historically strong selling position in selling video, and stations should be able to sell the video on Internet fairly well--even though those Internet reach and frequency media buying models don't always match up well in sells presentations with traditional local TV sales tools.
All that might seem like a big expense. But local online activities are still one of the fastest growth areas in the entire Internet marketplace.
If that isn't convincing, stations finally have something local Internet business still mostly lack--a big brand station's name recognition, which stands out especially well for small to mid-size markets.
Those names already make a big splash in the bucket.