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Local ad spending will hit $175.6 billion in 2024 thanks to a political boost

The news: Local advertising in the US is expected to grow 8.6% to $175.6 billion in 2024, per a recent BIA Advisory Services report.

  • The strong growth is largely fueled by political advertising, which will account for $11 billion in spending.
  • But even with politics out of the picture, ad spending will rise 2.2% to $164.4 billion, showing there’s still growth potential for the local market.

Political impact: The strong spending growth for political advertising has companies ranging from TV networks to streaming services clamoring for a larger share, but it’s local TV that will reap the majority of the profits in 2024.

  • An AdImpact report that estimated $10.2 billion in spending during the 2024 election cycle found that $3.25 billion will come from local and down ballot races compared to $2.5 billion from the presidential election.
  • Cable will see $1.9 billion in spending, but connected TV (CTV) is making gains even on the local level, bringing in $1.3 billion.

Beyond politics: The decline of regional sports could also be responsible for local advertising growth.

  • Increased cord-cutting has been a death knell for regional sports. Diamond Sports Group, a Sinclair-owned portfolio of regional sports networks, declared bankruptcy in March after cord-cutting cut into its viewership and its streaming offering Bally+ failed to take off.
  • The rise of the sports streaming model, with streaming services dishing out billions for the rights to stream matches across entire leagues rather than within specific regions, doesn’t bode well for the future of the regional sports network model.
  • The void left by the decline of regional channels means a greater share of spending is shifting to a diverse selection of local advertising channels. According to BIA Advisory Services, 52% of local advertising will go to “traditional” media like cable, radio, and newspapers, while 48% will go to digital channels.

Our take: The decline of regional sports has given local advertising a boost, but the growth of digital channels like CTVs shows that the shift to digital is still coming to local markets.