After looking at the figures posted by TV groups thus far in 2010, analyst Mark Fratrik of BIA/Kelsey has reworked his numbers and become more bullish on TV revenues. He’s not forecasting a double-digit increase this year.
Having previously predicted that TV station revenues would rise by 7.5% this year over moribund 2009, Fratrik has upped that projection to a 10.9% increase in total revenues, including online, to $18.1 billion. And looking further out, he sees TV stations getting back above the $20 billion mark in 2014.
So, is it due just to heavier-than-expected political spending or a rebound in traditional advertising categories?
“It’s a little bit of both,” Fratrik said, noting that Arkansas markets in particular got a big boost from unions spending $10 million in an unsuccessful effort to topple Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in the Democratic primary. In other markets, where there was no election impact, Q1 revenues went up because of the improving economy – although Fratrik notes that some markets were down, not up.
“The improved economy in the first quarter and also the response by advertisers, who are coming in at good amounts, was very heartening and encouraging,” the analyst said. But he also cautioned against reading too much into Q1, since “the first quarter of 2009 was so bad.”