Revenue for the local television station business is expected to increase 5.6% to $27.68 billion in 2018, according to BIA Advisory Services.
BIA sees over-the-air advertising revenue going up 5.8% to 18.2 billion, with another $1.1 billion coming from digital advertising, up 6.3% from last year.
Retransmission consent revenue is expected to increase about 5.5% to $8.44 billion.
“We anticipate political advertising will generate significant ad revenue for local television this year, in particular for over-the-air revenue,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and chief economist at BIA Advisory Services. “Of all media, television still dominates in political years, even as campaigns integrate more digital advertising into their overall strategy.”
In 2017, a non-election year, over-the-air TV station ad revenue was down 13.4%. Political spending on TV stations is expected to be $2.8 billion.
In 2019, after the elections, local over-the-air ad revenue is forecast to decline 4.9%, moving up and down afterwards with a 7.4% gain in the 2020 Presidential election year, dropping 4.7% in 2021 and rising 5.4% in 2022.
BIA says that with over-the-air ad revenue growing slowly stations are expanding their multiplatform offerings. It sees a big opportunity for stations in the location-targeted mobile ad business. That will be a $22.1 billion market in 2018, of which traditional media outfits, including broadcasters, garner $3.1 billion.
“Mobile advertising is a smart play for television because it offers a unique opportunity to leverage existing assets such as news and weather through sponsored mobile websites and applications,” said Fratrik. “These types of efforts are important as over-the-top-- or OTT-- services continue to attract viewers.”