Sans Political, 3Q National Spot Down

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Without a huge political ad windfall like 2002, this year's third-quarter national spot ad market is soft. But reps say they've been successful replacing some of those political dollars with new ads.

"If you take out political, third quarter will end up flat or roughly up 1%," said Tim McAuliff, president and COO of Petry Media Corp.

Katz Media President Jim Beloyianis noted, "With political in there, we're projecting third quarter down 8% to 9%, but current pacing is -1%. Twenty percent of all our revenue last September alone was political."

The good news for Katz is automotive, said Beloyianis. It's up 5%. Petry also reported higher auto billings.

But stagnant auto sales could affect future car ads. Pete Stassi, senior VP, local broadcast, PHD, said, "We're finished with 2003 for Daimler Chrysler. We're just not spending much in scatter and with car sales off in July, there could be cancellations. We've cancelled locally already."

The view from Horizon Media is that "auto is down," said Lourdes Marquez, the company's senior VP, local broadcast. "Last year GM spent all the way through October. Now, I see some dayparts down 1% to 2% in some markets."

In the top five markets, however, prime and access are tight, according to Bonita LeFlore, director of local broadcast, Zenith (Toyota/Lexus). "In New York, prime and access are almost sold out. Boston is not way off. Chicago has only daytime and early fringe available."

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