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Morning, latenight boost revs of Big 3

NEW YORK — The Big Three networks saw modest revenue gains in the second quarter, with bright spots reserved only in the ayem and late-night dayparts.

Quarterly figures from the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Assn. showed that combined revenues for ABC, CBS and NBC totaled $2.35 billion in the quarter ended June 30, up just $43 million or 1.9% from the year-ago period despite a continued strong ad market. Fox does not provide revenue figures to the trade group.

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Primetime sales rose 2.3%, to $1.22 billion, or little more than half the network total. But morning sales were up 13%, to $103 million, as Bryant Gumbel’s departure appeared to help — rather than hurt — the ratings and revenues of NBC’s “Today.” And latenight revenues rose 7.7%, to $136 million, in part from the addition of “Politically Incorrect” to ABC’s latenight sked in January.

In contrast, sales in children’s dayparts fell 5.8%, to $17 million, as Fox, the WB weblet and cable networks continue to drain kid viewers away from the Big Three. News dayparts fell 2.4%, to $221 million, while sports was down 0.5%, to $387 million. Daytime sales were up 0.7%, to $264 million.

For the year to date, total Big Three sales were up a modest 2.2%, to $4.6 billion, with ayem and latenight up a stronger 19% and 6%, respectively.

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