Economists are forecasting slow growth in advertising spending for the remainder of 2013 amid encouraging signs from the U.S. labor market.
Media companies are doing their best to grab a bigger slice of the pie.
This week, Wall Street cheered Viacom Inc.'s ability to raise television ad rates during the first three months of the year because of a ratings rebound at children's channel Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon's ratings were up roughly 9% this year compared with the network's lackluster January-March quarter in 2012.
CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told analysts Wednesday that demand has been strong for any available commercial time on the No. 1-ranked CBS network. That bodes well for CBS as the television networks this month enter the all-important advertising sales season called the "upfront," which is where the networks sell the bulk of their commercial inventory for the fall TV season.
Other broadcast networks, experiencing sharp prime-time ratings declines, will probably have a tougher time increasing their haul.
Overall, economists are seeing signs of improvement. On Friday, advertising giant Magna Global released an update to its forecast under the heading: "Light at the end of the tunnel."