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NEW YORK — Hurt by the weak economy, the dot-com fallout and a soft scatter market, ad revenues for ABC, NBC and CBS combined were up less than 1% to $3.4 billion during the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

Primetime advertising grew more than $43 million from the first quarter of 2000, but the real success story was in the ayem, where the Big Three webs saw a 6.8% increase to $187.1 million, according to figures compiled by Ernst & Young and released last week by the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Assn.

“The morning news competition continues to heat up and despite the difficulty in the economy, the revenue continues to grow,” said Buz Buzogany, prexy-CEO of BCFM. “All three shows are doing reasonably well. CBS has grown recently thanks to ‘Survivor.’ ”

Boosted by the Super Bowl, sports advertising showed modest growth of 1.9% to $871.2 million, while latenight was up less than 1% to $161.1 million.

Daytime dipped 8.2% to $274.4 million and news dropped 9.6% to $243.8 million year-to-year.

Revenue for children’s programming sagged a staggering 31% to $14.1 million.

“Children’s revenue has been decreasing for the last eight quarters because the competition continues to take a larger market share away from the Big Three nets,” said Buzogany.