New Report Finds Broadcast TV Stations Outpace Newspapers in Interactive Sales in 2009


NEW YORK, April 20, 2010 – Web sales growth at broadcast TV stations outpaced newspapers in 2009 as broadcasters gained ground against their in-market competitors and posted an 8.7 percent share of all local online advertising, according to a report released today by the Television Bureau of Advertising at a press breakfast at Gannett Broadcasting's offices in New York. Total online ad revenue for stations hit $1.1 billion last year, a 10% increase over the previous year, and the report forecasts that revenues would grow another 21 percent in 2010.

Jack Poor, VP – strategic planning at TVB, said, "In a year where the IAC reported flat internet revenues, the performance of local TV stations is quite stunning."

"Benchmarking: TV Web Sites Defy Gravity" examines revenue sources, growth rates, site traffic and other interactive issues and offers benchmarking for stations in large, medium and small markets. The research was conducted by Borrell Associates, which tracks interactive advertising for more than 4,400 local websites in the U.S. and Canada through voluntary submission of data. This is the fifth year Borrell has conducted the benchmarking report for TVB. This year's report focuses on data submitted by 573 TV stations.

Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, noted that the local online advertising is 15 years old and maturing. He said, "But we're seeing the emergence of a new disrupter: mobile." According to the report, local mobile advertising surpassed $200 million last year, with TV broadcasters capturing about 12 percent of the total. "I expect that figure to skyrocket into the billions within two years as the transition from desktops and laptops to hand-held devices takes off," said Mr. Borrell.

The top local ad-spending categories, according to the report, continue to be major retailers, car dealers and real estate agents—reflecting the efforts of merchandisers to meet up with consumers who are researching major purchases online. Local and state governments were also big spenders in 2009 as they bought Internet advertising to educate residents and taxpayers and placed job postings to recruit employees. Health care is another large category, comprised of hospitals, outpatient clinics, physicians, and "other" health professionals such as LASIK surgeons, dentists, chiropractors and cosmetic surgeons.

A surge in the use of coupons last year—and an even stronger surge in online couponing—drove other categories such as food stores, pharmacies and restaurants. Sites such as, Groupon,,, and others took hold with consumers. TV stations' efforts in this area extended mainly to selling half-price gift certificate, typically for restaurants, as well as some experiments in mobile couponing.

The full 43-page report includes appendices listing market-by-market online advertising expenditures for 2009 and mobile forecasts for 2010.

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