Marsh: “Stay very local.”

Marsh: “Stay very local.“
Wall Street analyst James Marsh of SG Cowen has some advice for broadcasters in the wake of his continued predictions of financial difficulties beginning in 2005. “Stay very local, keep commercial loads light, have a workable Internet strategy and manage the business for long term growth, rather than quarterly results.” Marsh is the guy who lowered financial performance estimates on the media companies he watches and downgraded stocks on four of them in November. As I reported then, Mr. Marsh sounded an alarm for broadcasters over the business threat posed by DVRs. That threat has actually gotten worse since he made his predictions.

This week, Mr. Marsh graciously responded to 10 of my questions and offered some practical advice to those working within the local television industry. I recommend everybody read this, because it’s unfiltered truth about what’s really happening to local TV. Here’s an example:

DVRs will undoubtedly slow revenue growth for TV broadcasters and managers will look very hard at cutting costs to maintain what they believe to be their true long term growth rate. Eventually, managers will learn that they cannot “cost-cut” their way to prosperity, but by then it could be too late for the business.
Chilling words from a guy who ought to know. Let’s hope somebody’s paying attention.

10 Questions for James Marsh

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