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Television Bureau of Advertising: Broadcast TV Ad Revenue Down

Total broadcast TV ad revenue was down 6.3% in the fourth quarter vs. Q4 2007, according to Television Bureau of Advertising analysis of estimates from TNS Media, and down .4% for all of 2008 compared to the year before, a year without an election or Olympics.

Network TV was down the most for the quarter at 9.3%, and down .1% for the year. Syndicated TV was flat for the quarter but up 6.5% for the year, while local broadcast TV was down 3.4% for the quarter and down 2.4% for the year.

On the local TV side, automotive, the top ad category for local TV, was down 29.3% for the quarter, and local car dealers were down even more (32.8%), while political advertising was up 675% over the off-year 2007.

The automotive sector is so bad that one broadcast group, Allbritton, tried a creative way to boost sales by offering its employees $2,000 if they would spend it on a new car at a local dealer ($1,000 for a used car, same deal).

Local TV's top advertiser was Honda, which was actually up 9% over the year before. Number two was the Obama For President Committee, up a whopping $2,146.2% from Q4 2007, when he was still a longshot behind presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.