eMarketer Downplays US TV Revenue Prospects for 2009

29 January 2009

NEW YORK: In what appears mighty like a jeer, stateside digital marketing and media research firm eMarketer is predicting falling US network and cable TV expenditure over the next few years.

It estimates that the latter's revenue will fall in 2009 to around $66.9 billion (€50.78bn; £47.48bn), 4.2% down on the $69.8bn earned by network and cable TV in 2008.

The prediction flies in the face of a generally accepted tenet: that network and cable TV's share of the biggest ad market in the world is around $70 billion.

But not this year, eMarketer reckons. But it remains strategically schtum as to TV's outlook for 2010.

So where have the absent dollars fled? Bach home to marketers' wallets or migrated online to cheaper, more-accountable media? Probably a little of both, opines the firm.

But there's one place the migrant dollars ain't – not on any significant scale, anyway – online video.

eMarketer believes the online video market will grow by 45% this year – an apparently major leap. But starting from a subterranean base, the estimated increase of $263m is statistically insignificant alongside mainstream media.

Nonetheless, online video should earn around $850m in 2009, easing the fiscal pain somewhat for internet players such as Hulu, Veoh and perhaps YouTube.

But as a percentage of the $2.8bn revenues lost by TV, it's peanuts. And eMarketers is dismissive of the medium as a significant competitor to the Big Guys.

Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff