CBS' Poltrack Predicts 9.5% Ad Gain for Broadcasters

Strong Olympics could mean first double-digit gain since 2004
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CBS' top research executive David Poltrack predicted that advertising revenue for the broadcast networks will grow 9.5% in 2016.

Taking the Olympics out of the equation, the networks would have a 5% growth in underlying demand. But Poltrack said that with a strong Olympics figured in, broadcast network revenue could be up more than 10%—the first double digit gain since 2004.

Poltrack's forecast, delivered Monday morning at the UBS Media Conference in New York, was more positive than those of most media-buying agencies.

"I realize that this is a very bullish contrarian forecast," he said, noting his prediction that broadcast demand would grow at the end of 2015 appeared to be true based on the current strong scatter market. He predicted that overall, broadcast spending would be flat in 2015—a bullish forecast at the time. He said he was sticking with the idea that broadcast would be flat in 2015.

Poltrack said that advertisers appear to be turning back from their preoccupation with the Internet as a marketing medium. "Change is now underway," he said.

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