If President Obama wants more evidence to support his belief that the economy is strengthening, he might want to look at the latest edition of private investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s annual five-year financial forecasts for the U.S. media. The 26th edition of the VSS Communications Industry Forecast projects $1.2T in spending this year, up 5.2% vs 2011 and headed to nearly $1.5T in 2016. The firm is bullish on digital media, especially mobile devices. “Digital’s influence is now a constant and significant factor in every sector, segment and sub-segment of the U.S. communications industry,” company president John Suhler says. We can’t say precisely what the firm expects, though: It no longer provides reporters with the full report that includes economic assumptions and detailed forecasts for different industries. Still, here are a few interesting factoids from the info the company did disclose.
Gross expenditures for entertainment media will hit $103.8B in 2016 — a 24% increase vs. 2011 and a big change from the previous five years when spending rose just 1% to $83.6B. The multi-year decline in home video sales and rentals resulting from fading interest in DVDs should end this year. Spending will rise 1.7% in 2012 to $18.8B after falling 9.2% in 2011. Box office spending also will be up 6.5% to nearly $10.9B in 2012, recovering from last year’s 3.9% decline. But both industries pale next to the spending for broadcast and pay TV programming, which is expected to rise 9.1% to $36.9B — mostly due to rising outlays by basic cable networks, and for Olympics- and election-related shows.
In broadcast TV, election-year ads will contribute to a 9.2% increase in spending to nearly $53B in 2012. (Broadcasters will collect $1.9B in retransmission consent payments, about $460M more than in 2011.) In 2016 spending for broadcast TV will come to $64.7B, up 33% vs 2011. That’s a big change from the five years beginning in 2006 when spending fell 0.5%. But pay TV still overshadows most other media and entertainment businesses. Expenditures for subscription television (not including broadband or telephone services) should come to $186.6B this year, up 6.5% from 2011. The total will grow to $231.8B in 2016, up 32% from 2011. That represents a slowdown from the previous five years when spending increased 42.5%.