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Local TV ad revenue rebounds, data shows

Local TV stations saw a dramatic rebound in spot TV ad revenue in the third quarter compared the same quarter last year, up 31.7 percent from Q3 2009, according to a Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) analysis of data from Kantar Media.

The turnaround, welcome news for local TV stations that suffered mightily during the recession, was not confined to spot TV. Revenue in all of the top 10 ad categories and 22 of the top 25 saw an increase, according to the data, which is explained on the TVB website.

The sizable gain year-over-year for the quarter in spot TV dwarfed the 2.7 percent increase in network TV ad revenue and 1.2 percent decrease in syndication ad revenue, the data shows.

The top local TV ad category, automotive, saw a 74.1 percent increase in revenue year-over-year in the third quarter to $701 billion vs. $402.6 billion in Q3 2009. The political and financial ad revenue categories were the other big percentage gainers with 68.8 percent and 69.6 percent, respectively. The car and truck dealer category also was up more than 25 percent in the Q3 2010 vs. Q3 2009 comparison.

The data also identifies the top 25 local TV advertisers and their percentage increase from Q3 ’09 vs. Q3 ’10. Chrysler Group increased its spending 157 percent, to $103 million in the 2009-2010 Q3 comparison. Ford Motor Dealer Association, which ranked third on the list, grew its Q3 ’10 vs. Q3 ’09 spending by 50 percent, to $83.6 million, and General Motors ranked seventh in the comparison with $51 million. AT&T was second on the list with a 68 percent increase in spending, to $93.6 million.

The newly released data also shows growth for the first three quarters of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 among 22 of the top 25 local broadcast TV categories.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.