Local advertising is traditionally slower to rebound than national, and indeed the recovery has hit a hiccup at the local level. Spending actually fell 2.4 percent last year, according to a new report from BIA/Kelsey, the Chantilly, Va.-based local media analyst, bringing in $132.8 billion. Local suffered from tough comparisons to 2010, a record year for political spending, which is almost all bought at the local level, as well as advertisers’ continued movement from traditional to digital media, which is cheaper to buy.
Growth in local advertising will return this year, fueled partly by the presidential election, and continue through 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, BIA/Kelsey predicts. Much of that will be driven by digital, which will grow at a much more robust pace of 12.7 percent per year, reaching a record $38.5 billion in 2016. Removing digital from the equation, traditional local media would grow at a rate of a mere 0.2 percent the next four years.