TV Advertising Wounded, Not Dead

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Reports on the death of TV advertising have been exaggerated, according to officials at PricewaterhouseCoopers, speaking at the company’s annual Outlook for the Entertainment & Media Industry conference.

But clearly, panelists at the event saw major growing pains ahead as both advertisers and media outlets adjust to paradigm shifts in media usage.

According to PWC, U.S. cable and broadcast networks will reap $73.2 billion in advertising, subscription fees and other forms of consumer spending by 2009, at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.4%. And pure ad spending in the sector will be $44.8 billion in 2009, at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.9%.

But prognosticators at the PWC panel sessions noted that the growth won’t come without some winces.

Jack Myers, editor and publisher of the Jack Myers Report, noted that for the first time in history, the broadcast networks’ upfront was down two years in a row, saying, “If you look back 20 years, every five years, the ratings have plateaued and then dropped off precipitously. Last year was the fifth year in the 20-year cycle.”

Tim Hanlon, senior vice president of Starcom MediaVest Group, added, “This is the first year that there’s clear evidence that the unbundling of television is under way.” He noted that marketers are starting to put their money into broadband video and the Internet.

Broadband video changed over the past 18 months from a “negligible business to -- going into this year’s upfront -- well over $100 million-$150 million of historically TV money,” Hanlon said. “The bleeding of linear television has already started.”

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