Less than 24 hours after war began, NBC decided America would rather watch "Friends" than enemies. While early forecasts said TV would lose more than $100 million a day from Baghdad-to-Basra war coverage, the immediate impact on advertising turned out to be limited. After war broke out late March 19, much advertising continued to run, in stark contrast to the ad shut-down that occurred post 9/11. Even as bombs fell in the first full day, ads ran on news radio, prime-time shows aired and March 21 newspapers promoted weekend sales. Most initial losses were limited to TV. Estimated money lost in TV advertising in first three days: $100.5 million.
PRINT PERSPECTIVE: Print advertising mostly held up- for now. Newsweeklies lost an estimated $3 million, or 14% of ads, from this week's issues.
The big hit for magazines and newspapers could occur in coming weeks if advertisers reduce schedules; there were indications late week that some financial, automotive and technology advertisers were considering that. One magazine publishing company was bracing for a 15% ad pullback over the next 60 to 90 days.
One obstacle: Publishers say few deals got done last week, so reps will have to scramble to make up for lost time-and lost revenue.