There are signs of nervousness at local TV stations. Ave Butensky, president of the Television Advertising Bureau, told local TV sales representatives at the bureau's annual forecasting conference in New York recently that the money being spent on cable and direct mail is rapidly increasing and may soon hurt ad sales on local TV.
'The fastest- growing medium is direct mail, and if it keeps going at its present pace it will pass TV in eight years,' Butensky warned.
Local advertising, known as spot TV, gets revenues from advertisers who focus on a specific area, as opposed to network TV, which broadcasts ads nationally.
The Television Advertising Bureau is predicting cable TV will show the biggest increase in revenues among all TV categories in 2000, with a 14 to 16 percent jump in income. The bureau is forecasting spot and network TV revenues will each increase 8 percent to 10 percent next year, while syndicated TV sales revenues are expected to rise between 7 percent and 9 percent next year.
There was some good news. Aaron Cohen, executive vice president of Horizon Media, a media buying service based in New York, told the conference group that automotive would be one of the four growth categories for TV. He predicts advertising sales volume in the automotive category will rise 7 percent to 9 percent for local TV in the 1999-2000 TV season.
Despite that optimistic outlook, Butensky warns that local TV sales representatives must wake up to the new millennium if they want those auto ad dollars to keep flowing.
'They (salespeople for cable companies) are going to your clients and are getting pockets of success,' he said, adding that the local TV industry 'is in a rut - doing things we did 30 to 40 years ago.'