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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.

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.