Media Outlets Need Auto Industry Ads to Survive

More than a quarter of all local TV ad revenue comes from car companies. Could plummeting profits from SUVs mean even worse local news?
August 13, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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A recent story in the Wall Street Journal broke down auto industry spending on advertising. Streetsblog wonders what sort of effect this has on coverage of transportation issues:

"The amount of money pouring into the media from the auto industry is staggering. Analysts predict that spending on car ads will total $15 billion this year (the good news: it peaked at $24 billion in 2004). Declining or not, these ad dollars deliver an indispensable chunk of revenue across the media spectrum."

"The most car-dependent media formats are the local type, especially TV stations. And who else is going to cover stories on pedestrian improvements, bicycle infrastructure, Summer Streets, or -- I dunno -- congestion pricing? Imagine if bike companies and transit providers could sink billions into local media markets, or conversely, if car makers spent next to nothing... how different would transportation coverage be?"

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Published on Friday, August 8, 2008 in Streetsblog
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