Report: Local TV Faces Growing Competition for Ad Dollars

CHANTILLY, VA.—Local TV broadcasters take heed; now is the time to innovate in order to compete effectively with new local digital platforms for advertising dollars.

That’s one of the takeaways from a new BIA/Kelsey report, “Advanced TV: Industry Views on Progress & New Directions,” looking at advanced television and the thoughts of top executives from various media enterprises.

A July BIA/Kelsey forecast indicates the spend for local linear television and digital video platforms will grow from $31.9 billion in 2017 to $38.3 billion by 2021. Linear TV, which includes broadcasters and MVPDs, will account for 82 percent of spending on local video and 54 percent of the growth.

Digital platforms, including local mobile video, local online video and out-of-home video spending, will account for the rest. However, broadcasters have the ability to challenge the flow of these ad dollars into local digital platforms, particularly if they choose to innovate.

“Agencies and marketers and their data scientists and planner[s] are becoming more sophisticated in their matching and uses of disparate database[s] to develop strategic profiles of their consumers,” the report says.

They have built “data-driven strategic consumer profiles,” and buyers want to bring that into the media domain, it says. So far, digital has a leg up on linear TV in this regard.

However, “interesting innovation” is happening in cross-platform solutions, local data management platforms, audience targeting and greater campaign accountability. “These innovations may bend current trend lines in the media mix if linear video can become competitive,” the report says.

The advanced television report presents the insights of several media executives, including an executive from Sinclair Broadcast Group, on these trends.

 “We need to become easier to buy,” the report quotes the Sinclair executive as saying. “Local TV systems and buying protocols were designed for simple local sales around single stations—the ecosystem has evolved far beyond the traditional spot based, single station sales paradigm, as consolidation has spawned larger broadcast groups.”

The next-generation TV standard will add even greater complexity and present new opportunities requiring its own automation, the Sinclair executive is quoted as saying.

BIA/Kelsey predicts “a relatively volatile future” for the local video market as traditional media players, new pure plays, audiences and advertisers “settle into a panoply of new options and start creating new habit.”

To learn more about the report, visit the BIA/Kelsey website.

Phil Kurz

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.