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U.S. Local Advertising Revenue to Exceed $161B in 2020, According to BIA Advisory Services’ Forecast

Nov 6, 2019

BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2020 reveals that political and over-the-top (OTT) advertising, and growth in mobile and social ads will be key elements in local media next year.

CHANTILLY, Va. (Nov 6, 2019) – In its newly released U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2020, BIA Advisory Services estimates total local advertising revenue in the U.S. will reach $161.3 billion in 2020, up from $152.5 billion this year, representing a growth rate of 5.8 percent. Traditional media revenue will account for 58.5 percent of total local advertising in 2020 at $94.4 billion, increasing with the help of political spend from $93.2 billion in 2019. Online/digital revenue will grow to $66.9 billion in 2020, or 41.5 percent of total local media revenue, up from $59.3 billion in 2019.

2020 Forecast PR“The expectation of an aggressive presidential election next year, along with primaries and state-wide races, indicate that political ad spending will be a serious driver of local ad revenue next year,” said Mark Fratrik, chief economist and SVP at BIA Advisory Services.  “Combine these factors with the ongoing growth of mobile and social advertising and the emergence and future significant advancement in over-the-top (OTT) advertising, the revenue landscape for next year looks robust.”

Key findings from the forecast include:

  1. Over-the-Top (OTT) Locally Activated Advertising: $1.06 billion will be spent in 2020, doubling to $2.13 billion by 2024.
  1. Political Advertising: $6.58 billion will be spent in local political advertising in 2020. Most of the ad spend will be spread across:
      • Over-the-air (OTA) television: $3.07 billion (47 percent)
      • Online/digital: $1.42 billion (22 percent)
      • Cable: $915 million (13.9 percent)
      • Radio: $312 million (4.7 percent)
      • OTT: $51 million (0.8 percent)
  1. Mobile and social advertising: $29.5 billion will be spent on mobile in 2020, growing to $44.6 billion by 2024. Close to 40 percent of mobile spending will be tied to native social.

“Political advertising will vary significantly based on the size of the market and specifics of local elections,” said Fratrik. “As a point of reference, in each of the three top local political revenue generating markets (Los Angeles-CA, Phoenix-AZ, Philadelphia-PA), OTA television will get close to 47 percent of the political ad spend across the markets, with online/digital getting close to 22 percent of the political spend.”

The forecast also projects significant ad spending in native social advertising next year. Social media ad revenues from all forms of mobile devices now represent about 93.8 percent of total social ad spending and will grow to nearly 96 percent by 2024 as more user activity shifts away from desktops to portable devices. The mobile native/social segment of mobile advertising is the fastest growing area, forecasted to grow 13.9 percent from 2019-2024.

“We’ve been carefully charting the growth of mobile and social to track its growing importance to national and local advertisers and its ability to precisely target and reach local consumers,” said Rick Ducey, managing director of BIA Advisory Services. “Now, we expect the emergence of OTT to grow quickly because it can deliver the type of targetability and tracking advertisers require today. Plus, it will give local television stations the opportunity to increase their online revenue. We are tracking this and more in our 2020 forecast to help businesses more precisely understand where ad dollars are going and plan accordingly.”

About BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2020

BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2020 provides nationwide total U.S. spending estimates for five years, along with individual media forecasts for 13 media, now including OTT. Details on how to purchase forecast are available here.

Additionally, the U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2020 is available on a local market level for all 210 television markets and 262 radio markets in the firm’s BIA ADVantage platform. For each local market, the forecast delivers total ad spend for 13 media and analyzes media ad spend for 95 verticals. The 2020 forecast has been expanded to cover new important ad categories including: Political; Automotive advertising for Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3; Colleges and Universities; Saving/Credit Institutions & Other Loan Services; Consumer Lending & Mortgages; Plumbers and HVAC; Utilities; Funeral Homes & Services; Health & Personal Care Stores; Airport, Cruises and other Travel; Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers; Tourism and Travel Services; and Internet Publishers.

For information on gaining access to the forecast by becoming a BIA client, contact BIA at or call (703) 802-2960.

About BIA Advisory Services

BIA Advisory Services is at the forefront of local media analysis, creating and delivering unique data to examine traditional and digital advertising revenue, advertiser trends and activities, local market profiles and ownership/operational details and the trends and technologies guiding today’s media business.

Since 1983, BIA has been a valuable resource for traditional and digital media companies, brands and agencies, the financial and legal community serving media and telecom, as well as the FCC and other government agencies. Today, we offer comprehensive local market advertising intelligence in our BIA ADVantage service to help clients discover the path to their best opportunities. Learn more about our offerings at

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MacKenzie Lovings
SVP Data Products & Marketing

Robert Udowitz
(703) 621-8060