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We’ve all seen the forecasts: Television ad sales for the second half of this year should ensure record 2022 revenues. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Radio & TV Annual Outlook puts 2022 TV station ad income at $24.15 billion. That’s almost 18% better than in 2021.
Naturally, analysts expect 2023 to be down a bit. It’s an odd year with no political advertising or Olympics to boost sales. But there’s more at work than just the normal two-year cycle. We are already hearing about a possible slippage from what was sold in the 2022-23 upfronts. Growth projections for later years seem to be below the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target. Factors at work now mean television needs to plan for a changed selling environment or resign itself to becoming irrelevant.
Recession is obviously the first concern. MoffetNathanson reportedly predicts that, when it comes, the downturn will span five quarters. Recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle. While we always seem surprised by them, media has survived them before and can do so again. What’s of more concern are the changes that cannot be managed by good fiscal stewardship alone.
Political Advertising — Friend Or Foe?
Consider political advertising. Forecasts show more dollars being spent in more concentrated areas — some stations see a windfall, others get nothing. AdImpact estimates $9.7 billion in 2022 political advertising; this surpasses the $9 billion spent in 2020, which included a presidential race. The 2022 estimate is more than double the $4 billion spent