Local TV Ad Outlook Revised Lower by BIA

(Image credit: Future Media)

Local advertising is being hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than earlier forecast, leading BIA Advisory Services to issue a new, more pessimistic outlook for 2020.

According to BIA, local over the air TV ad revenue will be $16.7 billion this year, down from $17.8 billion originally forecast before COVID and down from a revised forecast of $17 billion made in April.

Online local TV revenues are expected to finish the year at $1.5 billion, down from $1.7 billion originally forecast and $1.6 billion in the first post-pandemic outlook.

Local cable is expected to generate $5.6 billion in ad revenue, unchanged from the April forecast, but down from the original outlook of $6.4 billion.

Across all media, BIA expects local advertising for 2020 to be $140.4 billion, down from $144.3 billion in April and 6.1% lower than BIA’s original, pre-virus expectations.

“To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals,” said Mark Fratrik, senior VP and chief economist at BIA Advisory Services. “Right now, we believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.”

The new lowered outlook comes even as political advertising continues to be strong.

Since its April forecast, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. BIA raised the amount of political spending going to over-the-air TV by $138 million by $40 million to cable, $26 million to Online/Digital, and $5 million to radio.

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.