Cable Show ’09: Floating Over Economic Tsunamis

Apr 5, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Executives at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show ’09 last week were relatively upbeat about their prospects.
“We’re an industry that is still growing customers,” said Pat Esser, CEO of Cox Communications.
Consumers see their broadband connection and their cable TV connection as two of their most valuable assets, he said.
“At times like this, we should invest,” said Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts, who recalls adding subscribers in the 1980s in Flint, Mich., when unemployment swelled to 24%.
Even a pessimistic Rupert Murdoch, who said the long-term economic outlook remains “dangerous,” noted, “We find our cable channels are doing very well.”
Analyst Tom Eagan of Collins Stewart took the occasion of the Cable Show to reiterate a buy rating on Comcast stock, forecasting that the top cable company will increase its revenues and cash flow by 4% this year.
Assessments of cable’s advertising market also defied the negative trend buffeting the rest of television.
“We saw some deterioration in January and February. It’s still very short in time, but in the last few weeks we’ve seen a plateauing on the ad sales front,” said Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom.
“We’re starting to make some sales on the kids upfront and we’re doing pretty well,” he said. “There are some advertisers who are increasing the spending” because they see an opportunity to increase their market share.
With the upfront ad market approaching, cable networks expect to garner advertising dollars that used to go to the big broadcast networks.
“The cable programming side has remained somewhat insulated” from the downturn, said Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav. That’s because ad rates on cable are lower than on broadcast and, unlike the broadcast networks, cable’s audiences are growing.
David Levy, president of Turner broadcast sales, said that while the problems of the automakers and the financial industry are well known, other categories, including fast food, movies and alcohol, are increasing their ad spending.


  1. I CANCELLED my Subscription to Cable TV a little over two years ago! IMO the Value was no longer there. I had over 100 channels to choose from, the majority of which show the same programs over and over again. Also the amount of Commercials has increased to the point of insanity, in some cases over 40 percent of the program is commercials! The advertisers don’t care who is watching their Commercials,I have even seen Ads for “Adult Products” such as Viagra aired during Childrens Programs! I now get my News from the Internet, and if I want to see a Sporting Event I can walk to a couple of Family-Friendly Sports Pubs from my house. As for Entertainment, I now use the money formerly used for paying for my Subscription (About $65 a Month) to purchase DVDs of my Favorate Shows and Movies.

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