Net revs take quarter hit

1996 Olympics continue casting '97 in bad light

NEW YORK — Yet another report confirms third-quarter network revenues took a tumble due to comparisons with last year’s Olympics-fueled pace.

The Television Bureau of Advertising, citing estimates supplied by Competitive Media Reporting, said network TV revenues fell 10% to $3.16 billion. Local TV saw a modest 3% gain to $1.9 billion, while spot TV was up 2% to $1.82 billion and national barter syndication revenues rose 9% to $609.6 million.

“While the network sector took the biggest hit from the comparison with ’96, both spot and local felt the effects to a lesser degree,” said Harold Simpson, the trade org’s VP of research.

Despite the network downturn, the sector’s largest ad category, automotive, continued to drive business, with spending up 15% for the year to date.

For the nine-month period, network revenues are up 1% to $10.53 billion; local up 4% to $5.38 billion; spot gained 2% to $5.09 billion; and syndication was up 6% to $1.8 billion.

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