After a tough year when the advertising market cratered amid inflation and various economic pressures, local stations like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC could see relief coming over the horizon.
S&P Global Market Intelligence Radio/TV Station Annual Outlook 2023 report predicts the 2024 campaign season could garner $4 billion in political ad revenue, which is welcome news with TV station ad-spending expected to fall 9.5% in 2023.
Although ad revenue is expected to drop to $21.86 billion by the end of this year, stations will soon bear the fruit of massive election spending next year. S&P Global estimates a 13.5% increase in ad spends to $23.82 billion in 2024.
The 2020 pandemic led to a significant loss in advertising through 2021, with the last two years coming with their own challenges, including lower consumer spending stemming from rising prices and rising interest rates hurting the level of borrowing power. While the U.S. broadcast stations are slowly bouncing back, 2024 is likely to be the boost they need to overcome high interest rates and pressures from rising inflation seen this year.
“The U.S. broadcast station industry has mostly rebounded from the pandemic-level advertising declines in 2020-2021,” said Justin Nielson, principal research analyst at S&P Global Marketing Intelligence. “However, new headwinds have emerged in 2023, resulting in softness in the ad market as a result of high-interest rates and inflationary pressures.”
Stations typically see fluctuations in revenue during campaign seasons compared to non-election years. From 2023 through 2028, S&P Global estimates TV station ad revenue will increase by a 2.31% “compound annual rate” to $24.75 billion in 2028.
Excluding political ad spending, the marketing research group estimates local and national ad revenues will only grow by 0.4%, equalling $17.67 million, with local ads rising by 1% and national falling by 3%. Digital ad revenue is expected to grow by 3% as more households and broadcast content move to streaming options.
“The local ad market continues to be stronger than the national side of the spot ad business as national ad agency and brand budgets have shifted dollars to streaming, mobile, and social media platforms,” said Nielson.
Stations in swing states are likely to see the most political advertising. S&P expects Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas to see an upswing in such ads due to population growth clocking in at a higher rate than expected.