Local TV Industry Revenues Down 22% for the Year


How bad are things in the U.S. TV industry? Pretty bad. 2009 revenues for local TV stations are expected to show a decrease of 22.4 percent from 2008 to $15.6 billion, according to a recent report by BIA/Kelsey. That’s even worse than the 17 percent drop the firm had expected halfway through the year.

Revenues this low haven’t been seen in more than 10 years, and they’re expected to continue through at least 2013 — but the downhill trend should start to slowly reverse itself next year, with a 3 percent rise to $16.1 billion in 2010 TV revenue.

And while you might think that a downward spiral in traditional TV might mean more opportunity on the Internet, BIA/Kelsey doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Television stations made about $500 million in Internet revenue in 2009, which is about the same as last year, according to the report. That number isn’t set to cross $1 billion until 2013.

BIA/Kelsey isn’t looking at the full picture of the online television business, however. For the purposes of its report, the firm defines the television industry as U.S. TV stations, so revenue from Internet video made by everyone else wasn’t included.

P.S. Thanks to Robert Seidman for pointing out the report only includes local TV stations. I updated the post accordingly.


Liz Gannes

@Todd – I didn’t attribute the TV drop to the ascendancy of online viewing, just said that spending dropping in one place might mean growth in another, which seems logical since it’s cheaper/increasingly measurable/emerging.


If you think 20% down is a sign of an ascendancy in online viewing, or has anything to do with the shift to the internet, then you might want to blow the dust off that old textbook, “Idiots Guide to Journalism”. This is just a slight correction caused by the credit crunch and ad money shifting to the network web portals.

TV and the studios are on a downward spiral, but it has nothing to do with ad sales. It has a lot to do with idiocy in the new conglomerate system.

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