TV revenues fell in Q1


OK, you probably knew that, but the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) has now quantified the decline. Total broadcast television revenues fell 11.9% for Q1, with station spot sales down 27.6%. And for the first time that anyone can remember, the top advertiser for the quarter was not from the Automotive sector.

  1st Qtr 2009 1st Qtr 2008 % Change
Spot TV* 2,875,769.2 3,973,020.9 -27.6
Syndication 1,099,524.4 1,097,455.4 0.2
Network TV 6,520,833.3 6,847,880.4 -4.8
Total Broadcast TV 10,496,126.9 11,918,356.7 -11.9
*Includes both local and national spot activity in the 100+ markets measured by TNS/MI.

Source: TVB; TNS Media Intelligence
Copyright 2009 TNS Media Intelligence

With no national election and a deep economic recession, television started 2009 with a tough quarter. Based on TNS Media Intelligence/CMR data collected from the top 100 markets, the TVB found that syndicated TV was the only gainer in Q1, with network ad revenues down 4.8% and spot (local and national combined) down 27.6%.

Automotive was still the #1 category, but down a whopping 52.1% from a year ago to $334.8 million. That was not far ahead of #2 Communications/Telecommunications, down 9.6% to $312 million. Only one top ten category was up over Q1 of 2008. That was Food & Food Products, up 22.3% to $106.9 million.

Five auto-sector advertisers still made the top 10 list for ad spending on television in Q1, but the top spot went to Verizon, which boosted ad spending by 13.9% to $78.5 million. General Mills was second, up 41.6% to $54.1 million. The top auto spender, Chrysler-Cerberus, was #3 at $49.8 million, down 21.6%.

The Ford Motor Company Dealers Association, which had been the top advertiser on television in Q1 2008 at $82.6 million, cut ad buying by 43.6%. That put it at #6 for Q1 2009 with $46.6 million of ad buying. A year ago, in fact, all of the top six were Automotive advertisers, with AT&T the top non-auto advertiser.

Click here to go to the TVB site for lists of the Q1 top advertisers and categories.

RBR/TVBR observation: The world has changed. No matter how strong the eventual economic recovery, the Automotive sector is never going to be as strong as it once was for broadcasters. After all, there are fewer nameplates to advertise and fewer dealers. The way to build for the future is to focus on new business development and understand how to deliver value to advertisers with your Internet and mobile DTV platforms.

RBR/TVBR note: Have a comment, Post it Below or try our new forum the RBR/TVBR Community Forum Boards