Analyst Forecasts 2020 Ad Spending Down 11.9%

Television advertising is expected to be down 11.9% to $67.3 billion this year, according to a new estimate from Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research.

Nathanson sees broadcast falling 13.9% and national cable tumbling 15.7%. With election spending on top, he sees local stations down 5.3% and local cable down 4.8%. Syndication is expected to drop 15%.

Online advertising will drop 3.2% to $100.8 billion, according to the forecast. That leaves total advertising down 8.6% at $206.4 million.

Nathanson said that “traditional [advertising] is somewhat buoyed by the growth of political ad spend in local media and our current expectation that key 3Q and 41 sports like the NFL, NCAA college football and MLB playoffs will return.”

For 2021 Nathanson sees total advertising bouncing back to nearly 2019 levels.

“What explains this rapid recovery in 2021? In a word, digital. By 2021, we estimate that digital ad spending — even excluding the TV dollars that go into AVOD platforms like Hulu, Peacock or Pluto — will source 54% of all ad spending in the U.S.,” Nathanson said.” Given both the shifts in consumer behavior to e-commerce and the ability of digital to produce more targeted and efficient results, this snap-back is essentially fueled by a return to growth in digital spending at the two largest ad platforms (Alphabet and Facebook).”

He expects TV to be largely flat at those lower levels through 2024, when spending will be $66.9 million, compared to $76.2 billion in 2019.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.