Local TV revenues rose 23.2 percent in 2010

The local television industry experienced 23.2 percent growth in 2010 and achieved OTA revenues of $19.4 billion, according to BIA/Kelsey's just-released quarterly "Investing In Television Market Report."

That's a significant increase from the $15.8 billion in revenues BIA/Kelsey recorded in 2009, but down from the $22.6 billion in 2006, which topped out the past 10-year period.

However, BIA/Kelsey, an adviser to companies in the local media industry, expects 2011 television industry revenues to shrink during this nonelection year before rising again in 2012. The OTA total is expected to drop by almost $2 billion in the election off-year to $17.5 billion.

Online revenues were $450 million for 2010, the first time that has been broken out in the Local Media Annual Forecast. Online growth is expected to about double over the next five years to $896 million by 2015.

"Last year's impressive numbers were buoyed by strong political spending and a faster-than-expected rebound in ad buying by national advertisers wanting to reach local audiences," said Mark Fratrik, vice president, BIA/Kelsey. "Even with some erosion of viewers, it was a strong demonstration that local television continues to show its value to advertisers by delivering the shoppers, voters and influencers they want to reach."

Most top-25 TV markets saw increases of 20 percent or more over 2009. Those included Miami-Fort Lauderdale at 31.86 percent, Orlando-Dayton-Melbourne at 31.4 percent, Boston at 29.5 percent, Denver at 29 percent and Chicago at 28.3 percent. Even smaller markets like Wausau-Rhinelander, WI, (DMA 135) were up more than 50 percent.

According to BIA/Kelsey's U.S. Local Media Annual Forecast (2010-2015), the local advertising ecosystem is currently dominated by traditional media, with television's share at 14.6 percent. Revenues for the overall local media advertising marketplace, defined by BIA/Kelsey as those media that provide local audiences to all types of advertisers, will grow at a 2.4 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years, reaching $153.5 billion by 2015.

"Local television maintains its strength and appeal because of its ability to deliver viewers on specific days and times," said Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer and program director of BIA/Kelsey's Digital Strategies for Broadcasting practice. "With continued growth expected in its ability to leverage its over-the-air brand and continue the conversation with viewers through online, interactive and mobile local media, we see the television industry continuing its positive course through the decade."