Local dealer ad checks suggest stable outlook for auto ads. There has been concern recently about slowing auto sales. RBC's Joe Spak expects sales to decline ~3% annually in coming years. Auto is vital to TV stations, representing ~25% of non-political spot ads. As such, we spoke with local advertising agencies focused on auto dealers to get a sense for near-term budget outlooks and thoughts around media mix. Key takeaways were: 1) dealer budgets could see modest cuts but should be fairly stable; 2) TV remains a key part of dealer media mix; 3) spot TV spending by dealers should be stable over the next couple of years; and 4) longer-term outlook uncertain. Overall, we see a stable outlook for auto dealer ad spend in the next couple of years. Separately on the OEM side, Tier 1 spending appears to be picking up modestly, with GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan continuing to improve, although Ford spending remains soft.
Auto Dealer Outlook: Stable Spot TV Ad Spend -- RBC Capital Markets