Adjusting To The New Normal

How’s everyone settling in to this new, hopefully temporary, normal? Have you configured your home office to the ideal setup? Locked your kids away with screens and toys and if you’re lucky, a schoolbook? Are you checking in with your friends and family, your coworkers and employees?

We hope so, because some things are likely to get worse before they get better. That’s certainly the story with our pacing trends and forecasts this week. We made big moves last week, concerned we weren’t going far enough with our forecasts, and this week proves that to be true. More states are ordering shelter in place, which in turn drives Local cancels.

Once we get past these orders to stay home, once we figure out how to sell remotely, we hope to see a leveling out. There are quite a few advertisers that have important messages to share with their literally captive audiences desperate for news and entertainment. They just need time to figure out what to say and how. And one day, though no one really knows when, we should be able to get out of our houses and into the world again.

In the meantime, you should continue to face the harsh realities of where spending is today and price in line with that, while also keeping an eye out for aggressive negotiation tactics by agencies and advertisers looking for a good deal. Are they taking advantage of your pain? Maybe, but they’re probably in pain too. The question is, how do we get through this pain together?

That’s what we all must remember – in one way or another, each and everyone of us is feeling the effects of this pandemic. Some much more seriously than others. We need to take care of each other, personally and professionally, as much as we possibly can. That’s what we’ll be doing for you.

ShareBuilders TV Forecast

 

L+N TV
Q1 -7.5%
Q2 -19.9%
Q3 1.4%
Q4 -3.6%
Jan Feb Mar Q1
Local -2.1% -6.0% -15.0% -7.6%
Natl -0.8% -7.3% -13.0%

-7.2%

L+N -1.7% -6.4% -14.4% -7.5%
April May June Q2
Local -27.0% -18.0% -10.0% -18.9%
Natl -30.0% -22.0% -16.0%

-23.1%

L+N -27.7% -19.0% -11.5% -19.9%

TV Forecast Observations

 

Q1 Local

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

March’s 8.4-point drop this week pushed the quarter’s pace down 2.9 points.

Forecast Updates

There’s little chance March will do much growing from here. There are some stories of preempts being made good in the newly-open inventory, but that’s more of a National trend than a Local one. As such, we see March pace continuing to fall, and will lower our forecast today. The quarter’s numbers come to:

  • -2.1% for January
  • -6.0% for February
  • -15.0% for March – down 5.0 points from last week
  • Quarter at -7.6% – down 16.0 points from last week

Q1 National

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

National Q1 fell 2.1 points on the back of March dropping 5.8 points.

Forecast Updates

Perhaps due to the preempts mentioned above, but also because National advertisers have had a better reason to stay on the air, National didn’t fall as much as Local this week. Still, we were a couple points too high in our previous forecast, and will now forecast:

  • -0.8% for January
  • -7.3% for February
  • -13.0% for March – down 3.0 points
  • Quarter at -7.2% – down 1.0 point

Q1 Local + National

Continuing declines in March as local businesses close are causing continued cancellations across most of our stations. We’re now forecasting that the quarter will finish 1.4 points lower than last week at -7.5%.

Q2 Local

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

There’s no easy way to say it, and the chart essentially says it all: Local Q2 pace fell 10.5 points for all of our stations in the last week.

April lost 15.9, May 7.3, and June 6.5. June pace remains positive, though will likely dip to negative in the next week.

Forecast Updates

Remember that pacing was elevated before this coronavirus-related mess began; we knew pacing would fall due to earliness in booking this year versus last year. Of course, it’s falling far more than we expected now, and clearly more heavily in April than in May or June.

There’s no way around it, April is going to be a terrible month. The best we can hope for is that we’re either coming out of shelter in place orders in a few weeks, which will drive May and June spending, or advertisers figure out how to tweak their messaging for our new reality.

In the meantime, we’re going to stay very conservative in our forecasts, especially in April:

  • -27.0% for April – down 12.0 points from last week
  • -18.0% for May – down 3.0 points
  • -10.0% for June – down 2.0 points
  • Quarter at -18.9% – down 5.9 points

Q2 National

Week-to-Week Pacing Changes

Like Local, National pacing was inflated before our troubles began, and we always anticipated major pacing declines as 2019 late billing caught up to 2020 billing.

Of course, the coronavirus made the declines far worse, with pacing dropping 17.5 points week to week.

As in Local, April suffered the most, losing 25.2 pace points. May lost 12.8 points, and June 12.4.

Forecast Updates

While we know there are a lot of big orders still outstanding for Q2, namely ITN, we also know that some un-booked money is now not coming back, particularly on the auto front. We didn’t drop our forecasts enough last week and will make bigger changes today, particularly to April:

  • -30.0% for April – down 13.0 points
  • -22.0% for May – down 7.0 points
  • -16.0% for June – down 6.0 points
  • Quarter at -23.1% – down 8.6 points

These might be far too low, and it doesn’t feel right that National is weaker than Local, but that’s where the numbers tell us to go today.

Q2 Local + National

There’s a lot that we don’t know: how long will we be unable to visit stores, restaurants, service providers, car dealers, and all the places whose advertising dollars power our businesses? Is it a couple of weeks or a couple of months?

Without those answers, no one knows where we’ll all end up. The best we can do is respond to the information in front of us and be willing to change our outlooks as the information changes. Today, the info tells us to stay very conservative on our forecasts, and especially in April. It also says that National will be weaker than Local now, but it’s possible late business changes that for us.

Today’s information says to drop our combined Q2 forecast 6.6 points to -19.9%. We’re hopeful that if not today, very soon we find that low point and move up from here. We imagine you’re hopeful for that as well. Right now, your best bet is to go for high shares on all the business that is out there. Find ways to generate new business or encourage advertisers to tweak their messaging to respond to our current realities. There remains a lot of opportunity for advertisers to speak directly to your viewers and address their unique needs at this time. Help them see that and you’ll succeed.

What’s The Story, Inventory?

 

Given the impact of coronavirus cancellations on our stations, overall inventory looks very open heading into Q2.  That’s probably not a great surprise to you, but there are a few things to keep in mind.  First, many of our stations are lowering pricing targets in Q2 significantly. That’s going to make them look more open on our charts. Many are hoping reduced rates will drive sellouts, but you won’t see the impact of that right away. Second, ITN has not come in yet, as well as other big pieces of national business.  Does that mean these numbers will look different a month from now? It’s too much of a guess at this point to say one way or the other definitively.  Work closely with your consultant over the next few weeks for guidance on inventory strategies specific to your station. Keep in mind too, if you reduce your pricing targets by 25%, that doesn’t mean that you should cut rates 25% across the board. You’ll want to be cautious with areas that still have high demand, while other dayparts may need a more significant reduction.

TV Pacing Charts Q1

    Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.1% -6.0% -12.8% -7.1%
     
    ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.2% -2.6% -11.2% -5.9%
    CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 6.8% -29.7% -17.3% -15.0%
    NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.5% -2.9% -11.0% -5.9%
    FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.4% 50.9% -6.5% 12.6%
    CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.9% -9.8% -13.0% -9.0%
    MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -8.0% -5.0% -18.4% -10.7%
    TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.5% -12.9% -21.7% -16.4%
     
    Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.6% 3.3% -15.9% -5.7%
    Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 1.2% -8.2% -17.2% -8.2%
    South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -4.9% -6.8% -9.3% -7.1%
    South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.5% -6.3% -8.8% -5.7%
    West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.8% -12.8% -13.5% -9.3%
     
    TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.3% -16.7% -16.1% -12.0%
    TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.5% 7.0% -11.7% -2.1%
    TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.8% -11.3% -13.8% -9.5%
    TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.2% -1.5% -8.6% -4.4%
     
    All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 0.6% -1.8% 11.0% 2.5%
      Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.8% -7.3% -11.0% -6.7%
             
    ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.8% -2.2% -5.3% -3.3%
    CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 8.4% -45.9% -17.0% -22.3%
    NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 0.0% -6.7% -13.7% -7.3%
    FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 2.4% 68.4% -2.0% 20.7%
    CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 7.3% 0.5% -5.4% 0.2%
    MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.7% -6.8% -11.2% -7.5%
    TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.0% -9.3% -18.5% -14.0%
             
    Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.0% 3.3% -13.6% -4.7%
    Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -6.2% -12.1% -11.4% -10.1%
    South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.4% -9.9% -5.9% -6.3%
    South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.9% -6.3% -3.6% -3.7%
    West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 5.3% -11.8% -19.2% -9.9%
             
    TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -6.5% -19.0% -17.7% -15.0%
    TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 4.2% 8.9% -6.1% 1.9%
    TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 1.9% -2.8% -8.9% -3.6%
    TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 3.7% -1.5% -2.4% -0.2%
             
    All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 23.2% 28.2% -15.7% 10.2%
      Jan Feb Mar Q1
    All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.7% -6.4% -12.2% -7.0%
             
    ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.9% -2.5% -9.6% -5.2%
    CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 7.3% -35.3% -17.2% -17.3%
    NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -2.6% -3.9% -11.8% -6.3%
    FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.2% 57.0% -4.9% 15.4%
    CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -0.6% -6.7% -10.5% -6.1%
    MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -6.5% -5.7% -15.5% -9.5%
    TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.3% -11.8% -20.7% -15.7%
             
    Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 0.0% 3.3% -15.2% -5.4%
    Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.0% -9.4% -15.5% -8.8%
    South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -4.2% -7.8% -8.2% -6.8%
    South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.4% -6.3% -7.2% -5.0%
    West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 1.0% -12.5% -15.5% -9.5%
             
    TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -3.7% -17.6% -16.7% -13.1%
    TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 0.9% 7.6% -9.8% -0.8%
    TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.6% -9.2% -12.5% -8.0%
    TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -1.8% -1.5% -7.2% -3.5%
             
    All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 6.2% 13.6% -14.4% 1.3%

    TV Pacing Charts Q2

        Apr May Jun Q2
      All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.9% -8.4% 1.6% -9.9%
               
      ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.9% -4.0% 8.2% -4.7%
      CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -24.3% -10.1% 0.1% -13.6%
      NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -17.3% -8.7% 3.3% -9.0%
      FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -16.5% -10.1% 3.6% -8.9%
      CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -25.7% -17.0% -8.7% -18.1%
      MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -25.2% -15.7% -7.0% -16.8%
      TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -31.8% -27.9% -20.0% -27.2%
               
      Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -19.4% -10.9% -1.8% -11.8%
      Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -22.9% -6.9% 0.3% -11.8%
      South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -8.8% -1.6% 13.3% -0.5%
      South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.4% -11.0% -1.7% -11.3%
      West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -25.1% -8.6% 0.9% -13.3%
               
      TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -22.4% -7.6% 0.7% -11.3%
      TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.9% -12.2% 2.6% -10.9%
      TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -22.0% -10.6% -2.7% -13.2%
      TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -12.2% -2.8% 3.9% -4.9%
               
      All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -19.5% -10.3% -2.4% -11.8%
        Apr May Jun Q2
      All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -25.3% -17.0% -13.8% -19.3%
               
      ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -14.1% -10.6% -6.1% -10.4%
      CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -30.4% -11.2% -14.6% -20.4%
      NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -23.4% -14.6% -9.4% -16.6%
      FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -35.1% -38.3% -36.3% -36.5%
      CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -34.3% -26.4% -23.9% -28.7%
      MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -24.3% -14.9% -16.8% -18.9%
      TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -29.7% -26.0% -20.0% -25.7%
               
      Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -35.7% -27.6% -21.1% -29.0%
      Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -27.4% -12.6% -9.6% -17.6%
      South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.5% -16.9% -14.6% -15.0%
      South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.2% -7.2% -4.7% -10.8%
      West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -29.5% -19.3% -18.5% -23.1%
               
      TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -30.1% -14.8% -8.3% -19.2%
      TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -32.4% -29.5% -26.7% -29.9%
      TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -19.4% -8.7% -10.0% -13.2%
      TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace 3.8% 1.2% -3.6% 0.7%
               
      All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -23.1% -14.8% 0.6% -14.5%
        Apr May Jun Q2
      All SB TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -20.6% -10.7% -2.6% -12.5%
               
      ABC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -13.9% -5.6% 4.5% -6.0%
      CBS Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -26.0% -10.4% -3.7% -15.4%
      NBC Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.8% -10.1% 0.2% -10.8%
      FOX Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -22.1% -19.1% -9.3% -17.5%
      CW Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -27.9% -19.5% -12.6% -20.8%
      MNTV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -24.9% -15.4% -10.2% -17.5%
      TV Independent Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -31.3% -27.4% -20.0% -26.8%
               
      Midwest TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -23.5% -15.0% -6.5% -16.0%
      Northeast TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -24.0% -8.5% -2.4% -13.3%
      South Atlantic TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -10.0% -5.8% 5.8% -4.3%
      South Central TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -18.4% -10.0% -2.5% -11.1%
      West TV Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -26.4% -11.9% -5.6% -16.3%
               
      TV DMA Rank 1→20 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -24.7% -9.8% -2.0% -13.7%
      TV DMA Rank 21→65 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -22.7% -17.2% -6.0% -16.4%
      TV DMA Rank 66→100 Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -21.5% -10.2% -4.4% -13.2%
      TV DMA Rank 101+ Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -9.4% -2.0% 2.3% -3.8%
               
      All SB Radio Stations TV Executive Summary Pace -20.5% -11.5% -1.7% -12.5%