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A year in TV 2010.

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago optimism was in scarce supply in the commercial TV industry – as it was for everyone. The darkest, deepest recession most can remember, with a brutal 10% decline in TV revenue, caused widespread pain.

Things feel very different today. 2010 turned out to be a record-breaking year for TV on many fronts. A cautious but well-earned optimism has returned to commercial TV, matched by a profound and welcome turnaround in the perception of TV advertising, exemplified by Deloitte’s recent report on TV’s ‘super media’ status and strong future.

The numbers tell the story. According to Nielsen Media Research, TV spot advertising revenues in 2010 were up 18% on 2009 (see p. 12) and our own estimates place total TV revenue growth (spot and sponsorship) at about 15%. Linear TV outperformed the market, and all other media it appears, to set a new high for TV ad revenues. This is a gratifying performance and the forecasts for TV advertising in 2011, while unlikely to produce such dramatic year on year growth, are encouraging.

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