BIA Chief Calls For Change in Cross Ownership Rules

Station revenue projected to drop 17% in 2009

Media consultancy BIA Advisory Services made a call today for a change in cross ownership rules to help stations weather the bleak economy. In a statement predicting TV station group revenue will decline by 17% in 2009, company CEO Tom Buono said: "With local media companies dying on the vine and the TV industry, in particular, hamstrung in many large and small markets, it seems like a good time to explore the steps to save local media outlets, including the elimination of media cross-ownership and local ownership rules."

Buono went on to say that "immediate government intervention," was in the public's best interest. BIA predicts that TV station revenue will be $16.6 billion in 2009, a level not seen since 1995, according to the release. In 2003, station revenue was $22.8 billion. The company, based in Chantilly, Va., did have some positive news for station groups however. The company estimates TV stations' online revenue will be $556 million in 2009 and $1.1 billion by 2013.

Separately, Miller Tabak & Co. analyst, David Joyce sent out a report today on CBS Corp. suggesting, "Local advertising is picking up for radio and TV, which is a typical sign that the emergence from the recession is underway." Joyce suggests retail ad spending is showing some signs of life. "The automotive category has bottomed and is showing improvement (along with improving auto sales trends) with foreign manufacturers increasing ad spend to take share during the bankruptcy process which had mired some of the US auto manufacturers in restraints on advertising spending."

Joyce predicts second quarter revenue at CBS will be $3 billion, down 10% with TV at $1.9 billion down 9%. He predicts ad revenue will be down 17% in the quarter. CBS Corp. second quarter results are scheduled for Thursday, August 6.