Report: TV stations growing web business faster than newspapers


Web sales growth at broadcast TV stations outpaced newspapers in 2009 as broadcasters gained ground against their principal in-market competitors and posted an 8.7% share of all local online advertising, according to a report released by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB).

Total online ad revenue for stations hit $1.1 billion last year, a 10% increase over the previous year. The report forecasts that revenues would grow another 21% in 2010.

“In a year where the IAB [Interactive Advertising Bureau] reported flat Internet revenues, the performance of local TV stations is quite stunning,” said Jack Poor, VP of strategic planning at TVB.

“Benchmarking: TV Web Sites Defy Gravity” examines revenue sources, growth rates, site traffic and other interactive issues and offers benchmarking for stations in large, medium and small markets. The research was conducted by Borrell Associates, which tracks interactive advertising for more than 4,400 local websites in the U.S. and Canada through voluntary submission of data. This is the fifth year Borrell has conducted the benchmarking report for TVB. This year’s report focuses on data submitted by 573 TV stations.

Unveiling the report in New York, Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, noted that the local online advertising is 15 years old and maturing. He said: “But we’re seeing the emergence of a new disrupter: mobile.” According to the report, local mobile advertising surpassed $200 million last year, with TV broadcasters capturing about 12% of the total. “I expect that figure to skyrocket into the billions within two years as the transition from desktops and laptops to hand-held devices takes off,” said Borrell.

The full 43-page report includes appendices listing market-by-market online advertising expenditures for 2009 and mobile forecasts for 2010. Click here to view it.

RBR-TVBR observation: Not only have newspapers had to deal with shrinking demand for their print product, but now have to compete in new media arenas where their advertising sales forces have to deal with something new – aggressive competitors. That kind of competition is nothing new for TV sales forces, so it is not really surprising that they are outrunning the newspaper guys in online ad sales.