More bad ad news for broadcasters

Merrill Lynch’s media analyst Lauren Rich Fine tells Joe Mandese that ad spending estimates for 2005 and 2006 are being lowered.

The biggest media hits in Fine’s revised forecast impact the TV business. Broadcast TV ad spending is now projected to decline at nearly twice the rate previously anticipated by Merrill Lynch: 6.1 percent versus an early forecast of 3.8 percent. The main culprit is the major broadcast networks, which are now expected to take a 5.0 percent hit on 2005 advertising sales versus an early prediction of a 1.2 percent increase over 2004. Cable TV also slides in Merrill Lynch’s new forecast, dropping to 8.2 percent growth from an earlier forecast of 10.5 percent.
Merrill Lynch is also adding its weight to the lowering of forecasts for 2006, something quite startling considering it will be an Olympics and election year.

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