ABC, CBS and NBC – three of America’s leading four broadcast TV networks (the other being Fox) – enjoyed a 9.4% increase in ad revenues in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to new figures from the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association.

The trio’s Q4 advertising total of $3.3 billion (€3.1bn; £2.1bn) brought full-year takings to $12.4bn, a rise of 3.6% compared with 2001 but well down on the $13.3bn pulled in during the boom year of 2000.

Prime-time ad income dipped 2.5% for the full year, but ended 2002 strongly with a 12.1% year-on-year rise in the fourth quarter.

• However, not all media sectors are recovering so well. Separate figures from the Business Information Network show that business-to-business print advertising continues to suffer.

Ad pages in this sector slumped 2.2% year-on-year in December, continuing a series of monthly declines unbroken since November 2000. There were falls in seven of the 12 advertiser categories, such as telecoms (–29.9%), manufacturing (–26.3%) and finance/business/advertising (–14.8%), dragging down big rises in travel (+25%) and drugs and toiletries (+22.5%).

Nevertheless, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. December’s decline was comparatively mild, given that for the whole of 2002 ad pages slumped 15%, and the sector is expected to return to growth in 2003 with expansion of between 1% and 2%.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff