BIA/Kelsey raises TV station revenue outlook for 2010

The return of more advertisers to local TV as well as a contentious primary election season has prompted BIA/Kelsey to raise its outlook for the TV industry in 2010.

In its second edition of the quarterly “Investing in Television Market Report,” BIA/Kelsey projects overall industry revenue growth of $18.1 billion, a 10.9 percent increase from 2009.

Revenues from online sources are expected to hit $648 million this year, representing a 25 percent growth over last year, according to BIA/Kelsey. The firm also anticipates less dramatic positive changes in the latter half of 2010 compared with the third and fourth quarters of 2009, because the second half of last year was stronger than the first.

“There’s growing affirmation that local stations are seeing advertisers return. We see this as recognition that television is still the best method to reach large local audiences, whether the message is for a product, cause or campaign,” said Mark Fratrik, vice president of BIA/Kelsey. “This positive sign should help the industry invest in its infrastructure and position it for growth this decade.”

According to Fratrik, 2010 so far demonstrates that the TV industry can sustain itself in non-presidential election years. Since 1998, non-election, even-numbered years have maintained sustainable growth rates, starting with 6.3 percent that year. Four years later and coming out of a recession, 2002 posted a 10.2 percent increase, while 2006 TV revenues increased by 8.5 percent.

The unexpectedly competitive primary season will make up for an economy that is weaker than expected, he said.