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Field Reports

1 Nov, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Media Companies See Slowest Growth Since 2001

LOS ANGELES — The nation's top 100 media companies had a 4.6-percent revenue hike in 2007, the slowest growth since 2001, reports

Which channels are doing the best? Digital media's revenue was up 10.8 percent and cable networks were up 10.6 percent. The biggest loss was seen in newspapers, down 6.8 percent.

The company on top of media's growth — among the top 100 companies that made $299.1 billion in revenue last year — is Time Warner, bringing in $35.6 billion in revenue. Time Warner has been the No. 1 media company in the United States since 1995 and collected 11.9 percent of the overall revenue in the industry in 2007.

Cable systems and satellite services accounted for 31 percent of last year's media revenue in the United States. The three top ranking companies were Comcast, DirecTV Group and Dish Network Corp. Both cable and satellite account for a huge chunk of the media revenue gain; take out these two factors and the Media 100 revenue grew 2.4 percent.

Behind cable systems and satellite services were the cable networks, scoring the second-largest revenue source at 13.4 percent, ahead of broadcast TV networks and stations at 10.6 percent. Finally, newspapers ranked fourth, accounting for 10.4 percent of all revenue (20 years ago, newspapers brought in 35.9 percent of Media 100 revenue).

Obama's Primetime Half-Hour Buy Costs $4M

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama bought 30 minutes of airtime on four major TV networks and three cable outlets from 8-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 — less than a week before convincingly winning the 2008 presidential election. This is the first time since independent presidential hopeful Ross Perot in 1992 that a candidate has purchased a 30-minute block of time on major networks to explain and promote his positions — in essence, a show directly asking for Americans' votes.


The event — dubbed the "Obama infomercial" by pundits — comes in a year in which presidential candidates bought a record number of network TV ads in addition to TV ads in battleground states. The long-form ad aired commercial-free on CBS, Fox, NBC, Univision, MSNBC, TVOne and BET.

CBS made an equivalent opportunity available to Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), but his campaign declined. Obama spent an unprecedented amount on television advertising during his campaign — 40 percent in primetime. The purchase of the 30-minute slot on multiple networks cost the Obama campaign in the neighborhood of $4 million, according to industry insiders.

"This is where Obama being off public financing really boxes in McCain," says Evan Tracey, COO of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. "I don't think this is a move that the McCain campaign would have been able to match."

Perot bought 30 minutes of TV time back in 1992 and this year Hillary Clinton bought a half-hour on the Hallmark Channel for a town hall-style event just prior to Super Tuesday. The buy, placed by Washington-based ad firm GMMB, ran the night before the start of the annual November sweeps period.

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