Broadcast TV Ad Revenues Up 12% for 2004

Ad Spending up 6.3%; TV Syndication Shows Biggest Gain

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NEW YORK ( -- While 2004 was another banner year for the broadcast networks, with ad revenue up 12.1%, from $10.5 billion in 2003 to $11.7 billion last year, fourth-quarter figures show just how tepid the market has been in recent months.

Fourth quarter revenues were flat for ABC, CBS and NBC, with late night and children's programming hours particularly hard hit.

According to figures provided by the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association, which compiles ad revenues provided by ABC, CBS and NBC, but not Fox, WB or UPN, prime-time advertising (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) increased 4.6% in 2004 (from $5.9 billion to $6.1 billion), but for the fourth quarter it was flat, at $1.6 billion. Two other dayparts were hit particularly hard, late night and children's hours, which saw fourth-quarter ad revenues decline by 5.5% ($158 million) and 15.3% ($12 million), respectively.

Syndicated TV
Separately, Nielsen Monitor Plus released final ad-spending figures across traditional measured media showing overall ad spending in 2004 rose 6.3%. Syndicated TV showed surprising growth, as did local magazines.

The Olympics helped boost advertising revenue from sports programming, which grew 47% year-on-year to $2.6 billion, and by 10.8% ($637 million) for the fourth quarter. The morning daypart also saw increases, up 13% ($797 million) for the year, as did news, up 7.4% to $559 million for the year partly due to marketers looking to capitalize on audience interest in the elections. But fourth-quarter ad spending on news programming was down from the 2000 election by 36%, a drop that the association attributed to money being diverted from national media outlets to local markets in the swing states targeted by the presidential candidates.

TV and magazines capture ad dollars
As for where those ad dollars went, syndicated TV saw ad revenues grow by 13.7% for the year, followed by network TV, up 12%. Local magazines also saw a 12% increase, with cable channels coming next at 11.7%. Spot TV was down 0.8%, as was spot radio, down 2.9%.

Nielsen Monitor Plus reports that the Summer Olympics attracted some $1.8 billion across NBC Universal's network and cable TV properties. Among the biggest growth in ad categories were automotive, pharmaceutical and credit-card services. The three categories contributed to an overall $2 billion increase in ad spending over last year.

P&G tops list
Procter & Gamble Co. topped the list of biggest spenders in 2004, spending $3 billion in 2004, up 9.5%. The packaged goods giant was followed by General Motors Corp., which spent $2.6 billion, up 19.2%, and DaimlerChrysler, which jumped by the highest percentage among top 10 advertisers, 34% to $1.8 billion. The only top 10 advertiser to shrink ad spending was the Walt Disney Co., down 2.1% to $1.4 billion.

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