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TV 4Q Scatter Market Flat, Political Money Might Help

19 Sep, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – Some media–buying executives are reporting fourth–quarter TV scatter ad prices that are flat to slightly higher than the upfront buying period that just closed this summer, reports Media Daily News.

And the scatter market may see little or no growth for the rest of the year, the news coming after a soft third-quarter market resulting from heavy Summer Olympic ad-spending activity.

Third-quarter 2012 has seen weak activity because of expected sports programming offerings, the News reports. “The Olympics sucked a lot of money out of the market,” says Gary Carr, senior vice president and executive director of national broadcast for media agency TargetCast tcm,

Carr also told the News that a fair amount of inventory was sold upfront and that perhaps people are waiting until after the election.

Some are comparing this scatter fourth-quarter period to that of a year ago when pricing was also weak relative to the 2011 upfront. It was in that upfront that pricing shot up 12 percent to 15 percent versus 2010. Typically, strong-priced, well-sold upfronts are followed by slower moving scatter markets. But the economy is still in uncertain waters, some analysts say.

Still, some are hopeful for a surge in October. Jason Kanefsky, executive vice president and director of strategic investments of media agency MPG North America, told the News that networks are hoping for some political money.

The last time the fourth–quarter scatter period had a strong ad marketplace was 2010, when prices soared up to 25 percent and more over upfront pricing. This came after a relatively modest upfront market in the summer of 2010. Advertisers were spending heavily following the deep recessionary economy of 2009.

Executives from Time Warner and Walt Disney have been more optimistic for the rest of the year – saying that generally third-quarter advertising sales will be around flat at best, but rise substantially for the rest of the year.

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