By Dom Serafini

During the COVID-19 lockdown, three things have become clear for the U.S. TV broadcast sector: ratings have gone up more than 35 percent, national advertising has gone down 45 percent, and the number of local and regional ads being purchased has gone way up. “It’s all local now,” read the headline for a recent report from the New York City-based TV Bureau of Advertising (TVB).

According to the TVB, while most national advertising campaigns are on hold, regional spot buys have gone up in recent weeks. The reason given is that the pandemic has affected states and regions in different ways.

Thus, while COVID-19 has affected the Upfronts, which focus on primetime national buys, “the spot buying on a regional basis is about to become the norm,” reported TVB.

Naturally, the ratings jumps experienced by local broadcasting TV stations are playing a big part in increased local ad spend. According to Comscore, the Reston, Virginia-based media research group, a sampling of the top 25 TV markets shows increases in viewership throughout the early morning and daytime dayparts, with viewing levels continuing to grow until noon.

The increased local TV ratings and local and regional ad buys is also benefitting the so-called FASTS (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV Services) outlets, as well, because, reported TVB, “Advertisers can supplement their linear local TV buys with addressable AVoD inventory to achieve an ‘incremental lift.’ ”

A report from the New York City-based Advertiser Perceptions forecasts that the “COVID-19 pandemic will cut 33 percent from Upfront commitments as advertisers shy away from long-term commitments and shift to short-term buying.” And it is expected that they’ll most likely pay more on the scatter market, so ultimately, losses for the nets will be reduced.

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