Powered by a surge in dot-com spending, Gotham’s six major TV stations collected an estimated $1.4 billion in ad revenue in 1999, with WNBC snagging the most billings.
While no station would confirm actual revenue figures, several sources agreed that WNBC, for the fourth consecutive year, had the best gross revenue figures, bringing in a record of approximately $315 million in ad revenue for the calendar year.
Industry insiders said WNBC was able to pull off the feat thanks to the success of New York home teams: the Mets, Yankees and Knicks. “The Knicks getting to the NBA finals, the Yankees getting to the World Series and the Mets getting to the NLCS were windfalls for us,” said station topper Dennis Swanson.
The Peacock flagship also continues to overindex in primetime and early morning compared with national NBC ratings in those dayparts. Swanson said the station generates a significant portion of its revenue out of primetime and late news.
With the Senate race heating up between first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, WNBC is hoping political ad spending, in addition to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, will make 2000 equally strong in terms of ad revenue, Swanson said.
Finishing second in annual gross revenues was WABC, which sources estimate brought in somewhere between $270 million and $285 million. Fox-owned WNYW was the market’s third-highest biller with around $235 million in ad revenue, slightly up from last year’s estimated $225 million. WPIX finished a close fourth with an estimated $225 million. WCBS, according to estimates, finished in fifth again with an estimated gross revenue of $200 million. UPN flagship WWOR was sixth in gross revenue with an estimated $165 million in ad revenue.
Overall, the three major network-owned stations (WABC, WCBS and WNBC) collected about $800 million for the year, while the other three major commercial English-language broadcasters (WNYW, WPIX and WWOR) brought in around $625 million.