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Local TV Stations Core Ad Revenue Seen Rising 5.4% in 2021: BIA

BIA Local Ad Sales
(Image credit: BIA)

After a 23.1% drop in 2020, television station core advertising revenue, over the air sales excluding political commercials, are expected to rebound 5.4% in 2021, according to BIA Advisory Services.

Driven by $4.4 billion in political advertising, stations had $19.7 million in revenue in 2020, including 1.4 billion in digital revenue. That will drop to $16.4 billion in 2021, including $1.5 billion in digital revenue and jump up to $19.4 billion, including $1.6 billion in digital in 2022, another election year.

“This past year demonstrated that local television stations are doing the right thing by continuing to strengthen their digital and multi-media sales efforts,” said Mark Fratrik, senior VP and chief economist at BIA Advisory Services. “They also need to continue to develop strategies that incorporate over-the-top (OTT) sales to reach specific audiences, while simultaneously reaching the broader local viewers. OTT increasingly is becoming a competitive and complementary advertising platform for local television station operators.”

Fratrik pointed to several categories that will help stations rebound, including consumer lending and mortgages, up 45% in 2021 to more than $2 billion in over-the-air and digital online spending. 

Clothing store advertising will also jump nearly 45% to nearly $4.3 billion in 2021. 

Auto and direct property insurance spending is expected to grow 33% to $4.3 billion and direct health and media insurance carriers are seen spending 2.3 billion, up 29%.

Fratrik noted that there’s concern that the Summer Olympics might be impacted by COVID in Japan. If the games go forward, estimates for TV advertising will increase, he said.