Local News Still Worth The Ad Spend

With so many options for our eyeballs, advertisers are scrambling to find the most popular platforms. But just because something glitters doesn’t necessarily mean… well, you know the rest. Some of the best platforms for delivering audiences to advertisers (and vice versa!) are the old ones – especially local TV news.

A 2014 Pew Research Center report states that local TV stations enjoyed “a year of higher revenue and slightly higher viewership in 2014. Viewership increased in two of the three key time slots following gains from the previous year.”1   You might find it surprising in a time where apps, smart phones and the internet are threatening to destroy everything you thought was permanent in terms of “old media” but, well, actually, old media is doing fairly well, thank you very much.  Viewership in 2014 increased slightly in morning and early evening slots with very early morning news doing amazingly well, increasing 6% from the year before.

Another boost to local TV news is political spending; according to Pew, “much of this is due to political advertising spending, which after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling seems to guarantee windfalls to local TV stations in even-numbered years. In 2014 total on-air ad revenue for local stations reached $20 billion, according to consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, up 7% from the year before and down 3% compared with 2012, the last election year.”1

Possibly the best research data that points to TV as still the most effective advertising medium is the Turner Broadcasting/Horizon Media/MarketShare report which analyzed thousands of marketing optimizations used by the major advertisers from 2009 through 2014.

Amongst the study’s findings:2

  • MarketShare analyzed advertising performance across industry and media outlets like television, online display, paid search, print and radio advertising and found that TV has the highest efficiency at achieving key performance indicators, or KPIs, like sales and new accounts. When comparing performance at similar spending levels, TV averaged four times the sales lift of digital.
  • TV has maintained its effectiveness at driving advertiser KPIs over the last five years. In a study using data from a luxury automaker, TV was the only medium to maintain its effectiveness (a 1.5 percent decrease in five years) while the other advertising media—both online and offline—declined more than 10 percent.
  • TV marketers can optimize their spend by leveraging data sources, including high-frequency consumer interactions like website visits and inbound calls, to improve TV advertising performance.
  • Premium online video from broadcast and cable networks out-performs video content from other publishers.


Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014
Local TV Ad Revenue Growth 2014










Chicago alone saw its five biggest TV stations grow their news programming, adding another 14 hours per week altogether in the past year. And lest you think it’s just Chicago, “In an era of increased competition for video viewers, you have to distinguish yourself a little more, and what distinguishes local stations is their news and information,” says Mark Fratrik, chief economist at BIA/Kelsey, a broadcast research and consulting firm in Chantilly, Va. It predicts local TV advertising revenue will rise 10 percent to $22.3 billion this year from $20.2 billion in 2015.3

According to Wingman Advertising, there are five reasons why TV advertising is still a hugely successful platform for reaching consumers: 4


  1. TV drives immediate responses.
  2. Local broadcasts are DVR-proof.
  3. Cable offers targeted advertising.
  4. Good commercials work.
  5. Programmatic TV is a game-changer


Local TV news – for now – isn’t going anywhere. And neither should your ad spend.


2 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/why-tv-still-most-effective-advertising-medium-165247

3 http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160109/ISSUE01/301099993/why-chicago-tv-stations-are-adding-so-many-hours-of-news

4 http://www.wingmanadv.com/advantages-to-advertising-on-tv