NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Don't believe the hype.
That's the message from the country's old-line broadcast television networks. Despite declining ratings and growing competition from streaming digital outlets, they say, the increasingly frantic reports that "linear" television is dead are greatly exaggerated.
In fact, traditional TV, whose Big Four networks CBS (CBS - Get Report), ABC, NBC and Fox (FOX) presented their 2015 fall lineups to marketers and advertisers during upfronts this week, continue to bring in big bucks. To bolster their ratings, the networks plan to emphasize live programming, from NBC's new variety show, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, and juggernaut Sunday Night Football, to Fox's new musical production of Grease.
According to research firm eMarketer, TV drew in almost $70 billion in advertising spending in the United States last year, a number that's predicted to increase to $81 billion by 2019. While digital video brought in $5.8 billion in ad spending last year, and, according to eMarketer, is expected to dramatically increase its take to $14 billion by 2019, broadcast TV is still the powerhouse leader.
"TV is a tried and true model, while digital has a degree of uncertainty," said Paul Verna, an eMarketer senior analyst covering digital video. "We see that TV is holding steady. It's certainly not growing at the pace digital will grow, but it's so mature and so established. It's a huge piece of the ad pie. The gap will start to narrow, but it will take a long time to close, if at all."