The latest figures released today detailing the 12.6% slump in commercial TV ad revenue figures would not be good reading for the nation’s TV executives. But what’s been missed in much of the reporting is a breakdown of the damage done to the finances of the three TV networks in the five city metro markets for the June half year.

The damage was savage: all three networks bled ad dollars in the half, based on their shares of the revenue in the period. The 12.6% fall was the largest ever recorded and some in the industry were glad it wasn’t larger, around the rumoured 15%.

Nine lost around $800,000 a week, Seven more than $1.4 million and Ten lost more than $1 million a week in revenues in the latest half, compared to a year ago.

Seven earned around $451 million from its 38.5% share of the five city metro market, down $76 million on the $526.7 million in the first half of 2008 when it had a 39.1% share.

Nine saw its share fall to $388.4 million; $40 million down from the $428.7 million earned in the June half of 2008. Ten saw its share plunge $160 million (a fall of 15%), to $331.7 million from $391.6 million in the first half of last year.

The Ten Network has already seen its third quarter (to May) TV revenues fall 15%, and operating profit plunge sharply to barely above break even for the business, including Eye Corp. Ten’s TV business ran at a loss. Nine and Seven would have had losses in the quarter and in the year to June. We will not find out because neither company’s figures are reported.

Revenues totalled $1.17 billion in Sydney (down more than 14% and the largest fall in any market), Melbourne was down 12.6%, Brisbane was down 8.8%, Adelaide was down 11.3% and Perth off 12%. It was around $170 million under the $1.340 billion of revenues in the first six months of 2008.

Sydney’s share of the five market pie fell to 36.4% in the June half from 37% a year ago as the market stagnated, along with the Sydney and NSW economies.

Metro revenue was 22% down on the $1.5 billion peak second half of last year, when the Beijing Olympics propped up spending and took Seven Network to a record 41% market share.

No improvement is expected for a year at least and revenues this half are expected to be down 8%-10%.

Overall, 2009 is likely to see a fall of around 9%, according to the industry. The fall in the 12 months to June 30 2009 was nearly 9%.

Regional TV ad revenues fell a much slower 8.9% in the six months to $375.48 million, from more than $412 million in the first half of last year.

Nine and Seven would have had some small benefit from the smaller falls in regional markets: Seven’s Queensland arm operates in a market that saw revenue fall by 7.6% to $94 million in the June, 2009 half. Nine’s WIN operates in NSW and parts of south-east Queensland.

Nine is reported to be operating with an interest grace period until the end of June 2010. Rumours persist that Seven Media Group, half-owned by Seven Network and management and KKR, the US buyout group, might breach loan covenants later this year. Covenant tests for Seven media and PBL media are reportedly due around September 30.