Tough Comps for 2nd-Half Spot

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A lack of political dollars and continuing weakness in the economy have dampened expectations for second-half broadcast-TV spot.

Jim Beloyianis, president, Katz Television Group, is among those bracing for some challenging months. "Early pacing for July and August is very strong, but, as we get into those months, those pacings are going to drop precipitously when put up against last year's political spending, which, in third quarter of '02, was 15% of our total business. In October, it was almost 40%. That's hard to replace."

He expects overall third-quarter broadcast spot to be down 8%-12% and the "best-case" scenario for 2003 "down 2% to flat."

Anne Elkins, SVP/director of local broadcast at MediaCom, concurs, at least for third quarter. "In general, local spot seems not to have seen an upsurge in terms of spending and pricing. Advertisers are slower to move, and stations are concerned. The war with Iraq hit local advertising harder than anticipated, plus the economy in three-fourths of the states is suffering."

The fact that automotive is "not coming back to local in a big way," she says, is making rates "negotiable." She adds, "I don't expect broadcast spot to turn around until mid to late fourth quarter."

Kathy Crawford, president, local broadcast, MindShare, sees a more mixed bag. "Some markets are bordering on sold out, while others are soft." She agrees, however, that "third quarter is not going gangbusters except in certain markets. A lot of business is coming in late."

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