SEPTEMBER RETAIL SALES EXCEED FORECASTS
Boosted by motor vehicle sales, dining & entertainment spending, and growing consumer confidence, retail sales rose sharply in September. This, coupled with increased factory production, helps ease the recession concerns held by economists and pundits in late 2022. After increasing by 0.8% in August, sales again rose 0.7% in September—outpacing predictions of 0.3%. With year-over-year growth of 3.8%, this bodes well for a healthy Q4 and Holiday sales. (Reuters: Oct 17, 2023; chart from VettaFi)
POLITICAL SPENDING TO REACH NEW HIGHS
We’re still more than a year out from the general election but it’s clear that political spending is going to set records in 2024. It’s not just the Presidential contest, either: with hotly contested Senate seats (e.g. California, with the expensive L.A. and San Francisco markets) and Democrats looking to retake the House, spending could hit $11 billion for the cycle. This is great news for local stations, but the increased demand will put a strain on ad inventory and is sure to drive up costs. It may be advisable to start locking your local 2024 TV buys now. (Deadline: Oct 9, 2023)
PRO SPORTS: A RETURN TO FREE TV?
Breaking from the norm of exclusive contracts with regional sports networks on pay-cable, the Phoenix Suns of the NBA have begun airing games on free TV stations owned by Gray Television, and have even sent free antennas to fans. As other teams’ current local media contracts expire, it’s likely that at least some of them will also return to free TV. It’s a model that continues to work for the NFL, whose games are primarily carried by over-the-air channels. (NYT: Oct 18, 2023)
VIEWERSHIP PANELS: WORKING TOWARD STANDARDIZATION
With individual companies each having their own viewership panels—the audience groups that are used to verify larger data sets—there are increased calls across the industry for a unified approach. The Media Rating Council is working to establish a framework for this, but with so many different methodologies in play (and more in the works), they have their work cut out for them. (AdExchanger: Oct 13, 2023)
THIS WEEK IN VIDEO HISTORY
October 17, 1999: HBO premieres a comedy special called Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Since that “one-off” special, eleven seasons and 110 episodes have aired, and a 12th season is anticipated for late 2023 or early 2024.
Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
FUN FACT: In the original special, Larry and wife Cheryl have (unseen) children, who are never referred to again in the series.