The 2006 revenue marked an 8.2% jump over the previous year.
Perhaps more notable, are the strong valuations and appeal of local stations, even as the business faces hurdles going forward. BIA said 2006 marked an eight-year high of $18.1 billion in station sales with 182 changing hands, headlined by those of leading operators Univision and NBC Universal.
"Television continues its roller-coaster cycle of on-again, off-again revenue increases due to election- and Olympic-year rotations," said Mark Fratrik, BIA vice president. "There is no denying that the industry has benefited greatly from those two variables, despite the erosion of viewers to cable, Internet and other competition."
The Univision sales, BIA said, highlight the increasing role of Spanish-language TV--where 2006 revenues jumped 10.3%, considerably higher than the industry average. Continued growth is predicted by most forecasters.
BIA also said a robust market for the sale of stations will continue in 2007. Private-equity firms have already spent lavishly, and both Nexstar and the Lin groups may be on the auction block.