Broadcast-television ratings have dropped sharply this season. And that, combined with the weak economy and competition from other media, augurs badly for the spring ad-sales market, ad buyers and analysts say.
More TV ad dollars are expected to move to cable channels, a shift that has accelerated in the past couple of years. But both broadcast and cable television are facing more intense competition from online media, including Web video outlets.
Ratings declines have some marketers rethinking their ad-buying strategies, ad buyers said. Some are expected to shift money to cable channels, they said. While ratings have declined at some cable channels, ad prices on cable tend to be lower than on broadcast TV, according to ad buyers. In some cases, the Web could take a share of those dollars. “Advertisers have seen a significant shortage of ratings, and some are willing to take some money and move it online,” said John Muszynski, chief investment officer at ad company Publicis Groupe.