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Web revenue for local broadcasters expected to grow 21 percent this year
4/26/2010

Online revenue for local television broadcasters is predicted to reach about $1.4 billion this year — a 21 percent improvement over 2009. This is according to a new study by Borrell Associates and the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB).

The study shows that online income for stations is steadily growing. Local stations had $1.15 billion in interactive business last year, a 10 percent improvement over the year before. Jack Poor, vice president of Strategic Planning for the TVB, called the performance of local broadcasters “quite stunning.”

The report, called “Benchmarking: TV Web Sales Defy Gravity, Gain 10,” focused on 573 TV stations. About 84 percent of them made less than $1 million on the Internet last year, suggesting considerable room for growth. “It’s still a small amount of a station’s total revenue,” said Gordon Borrell, CEO of the firm.

Stations are taking online business from print media, whether it’s Yellow Pages advertisers, newspaper classifieds or coupons. Newspapers saw their local revenue market share shrink from 27.7 percent to 23.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, while broadcast TV grew from 8.3 percent to 8.7 percent.

Local television, Borrell suggested, is in good shape to cash in on the mobile advertising people increasingly consume on their mobile phones and tablets. Local mobile advertising was over $200 million last year, with broadcast capturing 12 percent of it. Calling mobile “a new disrupter,” Borrell said that the market should “skyrocket into the billions” in two years’ time.

The stations whose Web revenue represents a good chunk of their total revenue — some say, in the double-digit percentages — are the ones who are thinking of online as its own business, said Borrell, not as simply a marketing tool for television. “If you stop thinking like a television station,” he said, “you can get to the next level.”

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