BIA: Local TV Revenues Hit $19.7 Billion in 2020

BIA Advisory Services
(Image credit: BIA Advisory Services)

CHANTILLY, Va.—The pandemic hammered core local TV revenues in 2020, but record political advertising and burgeoning digital operations helped the industry pull in $19.7 billion, according to BIA Advisory Services’ “2021 Investing In Television Market Report.”

Political advertising ($4.4 billion) and digital revenues ($1.4 billion) masked what was a disastrous year for core advertising revenues, which fell by 23.1%. Thanks to political and digital, industry revenues actually grew to $19.7 billion in 2020 compared to $18.3 billion in 2019.

BIA is predicting a slight rebound this year, with core over-the-air (OTA) advertising increasing by 5.4% to $14.9 billion for 2021. 

In 2022 total local OTA revenues are forecasted at $17.8 billion.

“This past year demonstrated that local television stations are doing the right thing by continuing to strengthen their digital and multimedia sales efforts,” said Mark Fratrik, senior VP and chief economist at BIA Advisory Services. “They also need to continue to develop strategies that incorporate over-the-top (OTT) sales to reach specific audiences, while simultaneously reaching the broader local viewers. OTT increasingly is becoming a competitive and complementary advertising platform for local television station operators.”

In addition to the standard big television advertisers like automotive and general services verticals, growth in core advertising this year will come from business verticals that are hyper-focused on market needs and new entrants like online gambling, according to Fratrik. 

Promising sectors, including spending by consumer lending and mortgages, which BIA predicts will be up 45% in 2021. 

BIA also predicts a growth in clothing store advertising (projected to grow by 45% in 2021), auto and direct property insurance sector (up 33%), direct health and medical Insurance (up 29%) and online gambling. 

BIA is continuing to follow the status of the Summer Olympics in Japan. Fratrik noted that said if they do commence, estimates for television will increase and BIA will report on them.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.