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Why Losing DraftKings, FanDuel Could Add Insult to Injury for the TV Guys

It's not just the TV ad money. It's the TV ad money.

DraftKings via YouTube
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

If you work at DraftKings and FanDuel, or if you’ve invested in those companies, you are probably pretty nervous right now.

This is also true if you run a TV network that has spent the last few months harvesting ad money from DraftKings and FanDuel. What happens if that money goes away because DraftKings and FanDuel go away?

The answer, according to Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger: A double whammy for the TV guys.

Juneger estimates DraftKings and FanDuel spent $134 million on TV ads in Q3, most of which went to the four big programmers that show NFL games — CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC*. That represents 1.8 percent of the TV networks’ total ad revenue — but 59.1 percent of the TV guys’ growth last quarter.

But the DraftKings and FanDuel money has even more impact than that, Juenger argues: The influx of daily fantasy ads pushed up the prices of other ads: “By claiming huge chunks of inventory in an already inventory-scarce environment, this spending drove up scatter pricing across the board,” he writes in a note today.

My bet remains that DraftKings, FanDuel and the rest of the new industry find some way to survive, in large part because their existence is now important to a big chunk of America’s industrial entertainment complex. But if they go away …

* NBC is owned by Comcast, which is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.

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