There is some uncertainty in broadcast spot, with a variety of opinions on how second-quarter sales will play out.
"I'm very encouraged by current pacing," says Jim Beloyianis, president, Katz Television Group. "April is positive and building, growing somewhere in the single digits." He expects second-quarter national spot to be up by 5% over last year, good news for rep companies after a flat first quarter.
"We're having a healthy April, too," says Leo MacCourtney, president/CEO, Blair Television. "But, at this moment, we are forecasting a second quarter that is flat to minus two."
Splitting the difference, Pete Stassi, SVP/local broadcast, PHD, insists: "The most second quarter can be is even." A big factor: He expects car sales to be off.
Stassi's "gut belief" is that the bullishness some rep firms are feeling comes from the stations.
Beloyianis predicts "very strong" growth in key national spot categories throughout April, May and June, including automotive up 14%; consumer products up 17%; movies up 35%; and home entertainment up 20%.
Retail, however, remains the "softest" category, he says, "and looks to be down 10%."
The key question, Beloyianis asks: "Will those falling statues in Iraq raise and return retail's spending growth?" MacCourtney replies: "Things could absolutely change if we get an end-of-the-war bounce."
Stassi says "aggressive local sales efforts filled in the gap" when national spot went south.
Aaron Cohen, executive VP/broadcast, Horizon Media also doesn't see a rebound yet: "I'm not aware of marketers' initiating new or enhanced advertising programs."