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Three-Net Revs Up 12.1%

Three-network ad revenues in 2004 were up 12.1% to $11.727 billion over 2003, according to Ernst & Young figures just released by the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association.

That's their best collective performance in four years, according to BCFM President Mary Collins. That would make sense, since she attributed it primarily to the summer Olympics and the presidential campaign. Both the fourth quarter and the year were up from four years ago.

Spending in the news category was only up 14% in the fourth quarter over 2003 and down by $78 million (36%) in the fourth quarter from four years ago, which BCFM attributed to the strategy of targeted buys in swing states this time around.

For the year, Olympics helped drive the biggest gain by category, a 47% jump for sports programming, followed by the a.m. daypart, up 13% and news, 7.4%. For the year, prime time was up 4.6%.

Fourth-quarter revenues were up only 2.8% over the same period in 2003. news led the way with the biggest increase at 14%, followed by sports, up 10.8%. Offsetting those gains were prime time, down .3%; late night, down 5.5%, and children's, down 15.3%

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.