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Broadcast Revenue Down 12% in Q1

Total broadcast TV revenues were down 11.9% in the first quarter, reports the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), compared to the same quarter last year. Nearly $10.5 billion was spent on broadcast TV in the first quarter-down from over $11.9 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

The weak economy and lack of political advertising were the primary factors in the dropoff.

The numbers come from an analysis of TNS Media Intelligence/CMR data by the TVB.

Network television was down 4.8% for the quarter, syndicated TV actually posted a .2% revenue increase, and local broadcast TV was down a whopping 27.6%--dropping from nearly $4 billion in the first quarter of 2008 to just $2.9 billion this year.

Spending was down in nine of local television's top 10 advertising categories. No. 1 Automotive was down 52.1%, No. 2 Communications/Telecommunications was down 9.6%, No. 3 Restaurants was down 18.8% and No. 4 Car & Truck Dealers was down 39.6%.

An automotive outfit was not the top individual advertiser on local TV, which the TVB says occurred "for the first time in memory." That distinction went to Verizon, followed by General Mills, then Chrysler-Cerberus.