Station Web Site Revenues Soar More Than 70%

Ad revenues for Web sites affiliated with local broadcast stations soared 72% last year and could grow another 45% in 2008, according to a new report.

The boom led to $772 million in revenues last year across 534 stations in all 210 markets--and came at a time when station groups began to intensify their focus in the area. On Thursday, the CEO of Nexstar Broadcasting, Perry Sook, said he is now spending up to half of his time working on plotting Web expansion strategies.

This year, the report projects that spending could top $1.1 billion with the 45% jump.

The data comes from a study by Borrell Associates, derived from telephone and online surveys of station operators, and commissioned by the Television Bureau of Advertising. It was released Thursday at the TVB's annual marketing conference, where Sook appeared on a panel.

The study also found that local broadcasters saw a gain of 7.6 share points since 2004 in the local online arena, "chiefly at the expense of newspapers." Helping stations is the wealth of video they can repurpose, although that has led newspapers to strike partnerships to bulk up video offerings on their sites.



"Broadcasters' aggressive build-out of Web operations has them adding content and online-only sales reps to capitalize on those efforts," said Gordon Borrell, head of the firm that conducted the study.

The report also suggested that the sites are attracting advertisers in categories that stations traditionally have not done much business with, including recruitment and real estate. And advertisers appear to be more interested in placing their banners on pages with news and weather content (where the majority of revenues come from) versus sports.

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