Car Ads Generate About 1/3 of Revenue for Local TV Stations

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According to the Wall Street Journal (via Streetsblog), advertising money from car companies represents about 27.6% of revenue for local TV stations and 18.1% for local newspapers, which is significantly more than for national newspapers or broadcast TV, with the Internet and cable TV coming last.

We can understand how people usually are looking for local dealerships to buy and ads in local media can be more effective at closing the deal than more general 'branding' ads, but we also wonder if the fact that such a large portion of revenue comes from a single industry affects coverage of things like public transit, biking, walkable neighborhoods, etc.

Car ads should total about $14 billion this year in the US, down from a peak of $24 billion in 2004, so there's a clear trend there. Will it mean diversification of revenue sources for local media, or simply more cuts in coverage?

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