Despite the strength of the TV side of the game, major ad buyers cautioned
that the health of the overall ad market is deceptively weak.
On a panel featuring three men who control 50 percent of all spending on
network television at Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.'s annual media conference, Magna Global
chairman Bill Cella was most positive.
"One of the networks is going to proclaim that they're sold out in the first quarter,"
Cella said. Cable networks are strong. Automotive spending continues to be
strong, with strength trickling down to local stations.
Jon Mandel, co-CEO and chief negotiating officer for buying giant Mediacom United States,
disagreed "Does one dot make a trend or not? We are not taking the attitude that
we should run out and start Snoopy dancing. TV is up. A lot of that upness came
from print. Print is in a world of hurt. Outdoor is in a world of hurt," he said.
He added, "What my TV spending is up, my print spending is down." He
noted that giant billboard spectaculars in Times Square used to require
five-year contracts, but they now can be bought month-by-month.
"We would argue that there's been a retreat to television," said David Verklin,
CEO of Carat North America. "When we talk to our clients about the second quarter of
next year, they say, `No, let's talk about tomorrow, let's talk about next week.'
My clients believe that television is what turns the short term."