For the next two years (2003-04), most TV-ad-sales projections forecast growth
across all sectors of the business -- local, national spot, network, syndication
and cable -- according to the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB).
The sector likely to show the least amount of growth next year is national
spot due to the tough comparison it will have with this year, when perhaps $1
billion will be spent in political advertising. Wall Street and TV firms
foresee maybe half a percentage point growth for the sector next year, while the
TVB said it could be anywhere from flat to up 2 percent.
But some analysts don't believe even the low end of that projection is
achievable next year given all of the political and Olympic Games money that would have
to be replaced to get there.
"My official projection for national spot next year is negative two percent,
and I think that is very aggressive," said one analyst. "When you think that 12
percent of spot dollars this year are political, you have to believe there is
going to be a really huge spurt in the underlying business to get to the same level
in '03. We're just not there yet."
That's a statement that really goes to the point that the TVB has been making
for awhile now -- that the national spot business ought to be looked at in two-year
cycles, given the every-other-year infusion of political and Olympic ad dollars
into the marketplace.