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This Just In: The Media Business Is Auto-Dependent Too

9:26 AM PDT on August 8, 2008

8_8_08_Fried.jpgThink web sites are saturated with car ads? The internet's got nothing on local TV.

The graphic on the right comes from a recent Wall Street Journal article (preview only) on car makers' attempts to curb their advertising budgets. The amount of money pouring into the media from the auto industry is staggering. Analysts predict that spending on car ads will total $15 billion this year (the good news: it peaked at $24 billion in 2004). Declining or not, these ad dollars deliver an indispensable chunk of revenue across the media spectrum.

The most car-dependent media formats are the local type, especially TV stations. And who else is going to cover stories on pedestrian improvements, bicycle infrastructure, Summer Streets, or -- I dunno -- congestion pricing? Imagine if bike companies and transit providers could sink billions into local media markets, or conversely, if car makers spent next to nothing... how different would transportation coverage be?

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