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Radio News: Local television stations happy with 'Citizen United' ruling

Jun 07, 2015 11:58 pm
There might not be much disparaging talk on local television airwaves these days about the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision. After the Supreme Court voted to make corporations people in law terms, the Pew Research Center found that revenue at local TV stations grew by more that 48 percent in just two years. $3.1 billion in political advertising revenue now goes to the few corporations, and handful of independent operators, that own TV stations across the United States. ABC, CBS, NBC, Sinclair, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, and Gannett are among the companies with much higher stock evaluations now. The Pew Research Center's State of the Media 2015 Report says:
Local TV stations continued to fare well economically. Much of this is due to political advertising spending, which after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling seems to guarantee windfalls to local TV stations in even-numbered years. In 2014 total on-air ad revenue for local stations reached $20 billion, according to consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, up 7 percent from the year before.
A Slate magazine story says that the local television industry is about the only media field with improved economic conditions over the past several years, not because it has mastered the digital age, but because of the bump in political advertising revenue, and increased fees from cable companies for the right to carry their programming. So expect to see more temporary blackouts of local stations on cable channels, and more election ads, as that's where the money is on local TV airwaves.