BIA Advisory Services Reports Television Industry Projected to Post -7% Growth in 2008; Station Transactions Lowest Level Since 2004 : Downward Slide Will Continue Until 2010; Cross Media Bundles Could Improve Revenue Streams

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Political advertising couldn’t prevent the television industry from posting -7 percent growth in 2008, according to the estimates of BIA Advisory Services (, a leading financial and strategic consulting firm serving the media and communications industries. BIA’s fourth edition of the quarterly Investing In Television® Market Report anticipates the downward slide to continue in 2009, with -8.5 percent predicted. This year’s negative results reflect not only the economy but stagnant ad spending that has remained at $43 billion since 2000, representing a -0.4 percent compounded annual growth rate. In 2010, with a recovering economy and several close congressional races a positive 6.4 percent return to revenue growth is expected.

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With the steady improvement of their online and mobile presence they now need to demonstrate to their advertisers the significant value proposition they can offer through a bundled advertising package.

BIA estimates television station revenues will hit $20.1 billion in 2008, the lowest in seven years. Across the country negative revenue numbers were higher on the east and west coasts, with -8.2 and -7.6 percent growth, respectively. The Midwest states fared slightly better at -5.8 percent.

Station transactions aren't expected to go beyond $1 billion in 2008, on sales of approximately 65 stations, a large drop from the past two years but an equaling to the levels of 2003-2005, according to Investing In Television® Market Report. BIA expects station sales activity levels in 2009 to remain equal to 2008, primarily generated by financial decisions based on existing debt and financing structures or strategic corporate objectives, coupled with smaller ownership group bankruptcies or court-ordered restructuring.

"The television industry needs to focus more on compelling cross-platform advertising opportunities in order to significantly raise their revenues in the coming years," said Mark R. Fratrik, Ph.D., Vice President, BIA Advisory Services. "With the steady improvement of their online and mobile presence they now need to demonstrate to their advertisers the significant value proposition they can offer through a bundled advertising package." Fratrik emphasized that BIA research for the NAB FASTROAD project ( estimates that by 2012 an additional $1.1 billion in ad revenues alone could come to local television stations from multicasting if they began delivering news, information, and entertainment to cellular, mobile, and portable handsets, capitalizing on time-shifts in viewing patterns and the public's increased desire to download programming on devices other than their primary televisions.

The Kelsey Group (, a division of BIA Advisory Services, recently convened a conference on interactive local media, where the consensus among panelists was that traditional and online media are blending together, offering a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a multiplatform advertising approach. For example, one panel discussed how NBC, Comcast, and CBS Radio collaborated on a successful Great Used Car Sale Campaign in Chicago utilizing the different forums these competitive firms offer. The 10-day event generated 26 million online impressions. Going forward, television can certainly embrace similar strategies to extend its presence in more sophisticated ways.

Kelsey's Peter Krasilovsky, vice president and program director of marketplaces, expects to see television ads act as differentiators for leading online services because of its broader scale and ability to reach more people than new media. "In 2009 look for cross media bundles bringing together television, radio, newspapers, and online services as a way to improve overall revenues," says Krasilovsky.

(A chart showing the broadcast television percentage revenue change from 2000 and BIA Advisory Services projected revenue change for the coming four years is available at

Fratrik notes that the value of television stations will be a challenge for stations and groups in the foreseeable future.

"Stations that need valuations or assessments for financing or purchases are walking a tightrope right now," said Dr. Fratrik. "The industry needs to keep its revenue in balance while investing properly in its future for longer-term growth."

BIA posts a monthly update of television station values and transactions on its web site at

A comprehensive profile of all 210 television markets (plus Puerto Rico) and television market projections through 2012 are available in the fourth quarter edition of Investing In Television® Market Report published by BIA Advisory Services and the 2008 Investing In Television® Ownership Report. Both publications are part of the Investing In financial guide series that includes market trend analysis, demographic and economic overviews, competitive overviews, technical data, ownership data, pending and completed transactions, and Arbitron ratings. Information on these publications is available on the BIAfn website at

BIA also provides the Investing In Television® Pocket Guide, a convenient, abbreviated portable reference guide to all of the television markets. The compact design of the guides allows readers to rapidly identify key markets and important station details. BIA also publishes investment reference guides and provides data services for the television and newspaper industries. For more information, call 800.331.5086 or email

About BIA Advisory Services, LLC

BIA Advisory Services, LLC, a subsidiary of BIA Financial Network, provides research, data, analysis, and financial and strategic consulting to media, telecommunications, technology, directory publishing, and local search companies. BIA Advisory Services includes: The Kelsey Group, experts in traditional and online local media and advertising; BIA Research, providers of competitive and comparative market information and analysis through data services, specialized reporting, engineering studies and mapping; and, BIA Consulting, specialists in business intelligence and corporate growth strategy, and the nation's leading communications appraisal and valuation firm. Additional information is available at BIA's blog is located and the company can be found on Twitter

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