Prexy race, Games spur TV ad revs

Revenue for the networks hit $11.7 billion

NEW YORK — Advertising revenue for ABC, CBS and NBC grew more than 12% in 2004, helped by the Summer Olympics and the presidential race, according to figures compiled by the Broadcast Cable Financial Assn.

Revenue for the networks hit $11.7 billion, led by a 47% increase in sports advertising, a 13% gain for the morning shows and a 7.4% increase for news.

Primetime rose 4.6% for the year, while latenight and children’s programming fell 5.5% and 15.3%, respectively.

“Thanks to opportunities provided by the Summer Olympics and a presidential campaign, the country’s largest TV networks enjoyed their best results in the past four years,” said association prexy Mary Collins.

While the news networks were up for the year, they were slightly off from the 2000 election in the fourth quarter, as the campaigns shifted dollars to local buys in swing states.

In the fourth quarter, news revenues were up 14% over 2003, but down 36% from the previous presidential contest in 2000.

“While 2004 and fourth-quarter results were also better than in the last presidential election year, we view the $78 million decline in news advertising revenues during the fourth quarter of this year’s election as due in part to diverting campaign spending to swing states,” Collins said.

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