C-E-Oh, no


The parade of bad economic news continues unabated with the release of the latest Conference Board survey of CEO confidence. The corner office execs’ assessment of current conditions hit a seven-year low, and their view of current conditions is rosy compared to their assessment of what’s ahead during the next six months.

A neutral viewpoint is expressed as the number 50, so the current economic condition score of 38 is decidedly on the pessimistic side. The score has been in decline since Q1 2007, when it was at 53. The drop over the course of the year has been a fairly dramatic 15 points, but it marks only a one-point drop from Q4 2007’s score of 39.

Looking ahead six months, CEOs registered a very pessimistic reading of 26, an eight-point drop from Q4 2007. This reading was at 60 as recently as Q1 2006. But it dropped to par 50 during the next quarter and has been subpar ever since.

As usual, CEOs saw most of the trouble elsewhere, but were still shading to the gloomy side even when assessing their own business areas. When it comes to their own industry’s prospects, current conditions warranted a 41 and the outlook for the next six months almost reached par with a 47.

The Conference Board says that only 19% of CEOs surveyed expect business conditions to improve during the next six months, but says that is a three-point improvement over the last survey period.

RBR/TVBR observation: Broadcasters are facing plenty of new competitive and technical challenges impacting bottom lines. Overlaying general economic challenges on top of everything else may make a break-even year cause for celebration.