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Numbers tipping to cable

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Cable’s audience share will surpass broadcast’s in the 2002-03 season, said Joe Ostrow, head of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, at a Bear Stearns conference Friday in New York.
But while the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Christopher Rohrs argued at the same conference that broadcast’s reach is much greater and that cable should be priced below broadcast, Mr. Ostrow touted cable’s growth. “Cable is investing continually in new programming, and broadcast is cutting back, limiting much of their new programs to shows that are inexpensive to produce,” he said, while cable has become the new “home for made-for-television movies and made-for-television miniseries.”
On the broadcast side, national spot sales in 2002 will be up 3 percent to 6 percent, and local spot sales will be up 2 percent to 5 percent, Mr. Rohrs said. This year’s key advertising variables will include consumer spending, political spending, consolidation, war and anti-terrorism, the financial markets and consumer confidence, he said.
Mr. Rohrs addressed the issue of “what went wrong” in 2001, when national spot volume was off by approximately 20 percent, telling the conferees that 40 percent of the decline in national spot, representing around $800 million, was attributable to the dearth of political advertising, while another $700 million represented the decline in the all-important automotive category.
However, Mr. Rohrs also pointed out a long list of advertisers who increased their spot spending in 2001, including Office Depot (up 194 percent), Credit Suisse (up 164 percent), Campbell’s Soup (up 98 percent), AT&T (up 11 percent) and Sony (up 6 percent). He said some autoe companies, mostly the big foreign manufacturers, took the opportunity last year to dramatically “increase their car dollars to spot,” including Isuzu (up 1,239 percent), General Motors dealer associations (up 132 percent) and Mitsubishi (up 49 percent).