Big 3 networks take hit in 2001

Mar 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

There is no way to put a better spin on it. The Big 3 broadcast networks lost more than 10 percent of their combined revenue in 2001-the largest such single-year decline in their history, according to the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association.
Total network revenues from time sales in 2001 were $10.2 billion, down from $11.4 billion in 2000.
Sports programming suffered the biggest hit without the Summer Olympics boosts of 2000, down 35 percent to $1.97 billion from $3 billion a year earlier. Children’s programming advertising was off 28 percent to $54 .1 million, while news fell 16 percent to $759 million, and daytime lost 10.4 percent to $896 million. The numbers reflect the continuing decline in early evening network news and ABC’s reclassification of its prime-time newsmagazines from the “news” to the general “prime time” program category, BCFM said.
Prime time marginally gained 2.3 percent to $5.4 billion among the three networks in all of 2001.
Holding their own were late-night, up almost 2 percent to $571.2 million in 2001, and morning programs, up 3 percent to $605 million.
In the fourth quarter, the Big 3 reported an overall 8.9 percent decline in net revenues from time sales to $2.64 billion from nearly $3 billion in 2000, when advertising in news and children’s programs were particularly hit hard.
BCFM does not break out the revenue spending according to individual networks. The numbers, certified by Ernst & Young, are compiled from The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, General Electric Co.’s NBC and Viacom’s CBS.