America’s media industry is reeling at the financial consequences of its voluntary suspension of TV advertising after last week’s terrorist attacks.

According to media analysts, broadcast and cable TV networks and stations have lost between $40 million and $100 million in daily ad revenues since September 11 when they dropped all ads to offer uninterrupted coverage of the tragedy. It was not until Saturday morning that the first few commercials again began to hit the airwaves, albeit in limited numbers.

Newspapers and magazines have also lost massive sums as advertisers cancelled or shelved their print campaigns. Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report each ran special ad-free issues devoted to the carnage.

According to newspaper analyst Lauren Rich Fine at Merrill Lynch: “We know consumer confidence levels are bad. They were bad before this happened. It's really bad now. I don't know if advertisers think they can spend and get consumers to come in. They don't know if there's going to be prolonged military action.”

Conversely, however, some corporate giants believe it their patriotic duty to return to normality as soon as possible, thereby demonstrating to terrorists that their devastating strike cannot alter the nation’s way of life: “The president wants us to show we'll be getting back to business," said Anne Doyle, a spokesperson for the Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney chairman Michael D Eisner was similarly positive: "I am not sure this is a sky-is-falling scenario,” he opined. “There is no country whose economy is as strong as the United States, and there is no business as strong as the entertainment business in the United States.”

In evidence of his confidence, Eisner cited a Disney cruise ship that sailed from Florida late last week with a full contingent of 2,200 passengers, many of whom had traveled from as far away as Chicago and California despite their flights being canceled. “We expected nobody would be on the ship”" he said.

News source: New York Times