Lowered Expectations: TVB Revisits '09 Ad Estimates

tv watcherThe rapidly falling economy has given the Television Bureau of Advertising some pause--enough to make a rare revision of its 2009 local TV station forecast, one that points due south.

The TV station advertising group is now forecasting that total local TV ad revenues are expected to fall steeply, anywhere from 7% to 11%. Previously, it had estimated a drop of 2% to 5% in 2009.

Moreover, TVB now says 2008 will see, for the first time ever, total annual local advertising lower than the previous year in a so-called "even-numbered year"--periods that are typically higher-grossing, due to higher political and Olympics advertising.

TVB is estimating that 2008 will see a full-year decline: 7.1% from the $16.9 billion for total local advertising in 2007. Back in September, TVB had said that 2008 revenue would be flat versus 2007.

Because of quickly changing economic conditions, TVB made these revisions--only the second time ever for the group. The first time came after the 2002 forecast was revised because of the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11/01--six days after TVB issued the report.

For 2009, the TVB estimated that local spot will be 4% to 8% lower in 2009 than 2008, and national spot revenue, a component of local TV ad revenues, will sink from 11.5% to 15.5%.

In a press release, TVB President Chris Rohrs said: "These are not happy numbers to report, but they are the new reality."

The TVB says 1970 was the last time an even-number year witnessed a partial drop--that of national spot revenue, which sank some 1.5% versus 1969. Overall, 1970 ended up at $1.94 billion, up from $1.9 billion in 1969.

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