The numbers are in and broadcast-TV ad revenues were down 4% for 2003 to $40.4 billion, and down a dramatic 18% to $9.9 billion for the quarter (all numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred million dollars).
The bright spot in that picture was syndication, which was on fire.
According to year-end figures compiled by the Television Bureau of Advertising from TNS Media/CMR data, revenue for the syndicated category was up 15.3% to $3.4 billion for the year and up 12.3% to $925 million for the fourth quarter.
By contrast, network TV was down 5.6% to $20.8 billion for the year and a whopping 26.6% to $4.6 billion for the fourth quarter.
Local broadcast was down 5.4% to $16.2 billion for the year and down 12.7% to $4.4 billion for the quarter.
On the local front, the biggest category drop was in restaurant ads, down 12.8%, while the biggest gain was in financial services, up 9.2%.