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Forecast: Local TV Brings In $18.5 Billion In 2010

Local television ad revenues are expected to hit $18.5 billion this year, a 17% increase from stations' 2009 revenue totals, according to BIA/Kelsey. Not surprisingly, a banner political year and strong automotive advertising has paced stations to a very healthy 2010.

Top markets for 2010 revenue gains include Denver, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce and Chicago.

The $18.5 billion haul outpaces the $17 billion BIA/Kelsey forecasted in April.

The 2009 total was $15.6 billion.

Without hot election races next year, BIA/Kelsey forecasts an 8% decline in revenue for 2011. But this year's strong showing bodes well for 2012 and beyond.

"We have become more bullish for the local television markets over the next decade, particularly as political advertising will continue to be significant in the even-numbered years, when we can expect heated campaigns to take place," said Mark Fratrik, Ph.D., vice president of BIA/Kelsey. "This year was an affirmation that local television is still vital to any ad campaign, and we anticipate that this won't go unnoticed by the larger nationwide retailers."

Fratrik says the multiplatform attack that's central to stations' strategy has them well poised for revenue gains long-term.

"Television broadcasters are making significant progress in enhancing their off-air revenue sources, particularly online, through hyperlocal sites and mobile applications," he said. "The blend of traditional media with the targeting of online and mobile media creates a powerful opportunity for revenue generation."