Cable networks are commanding double-digit rate hikes in third-quarter scatter ad sales, and executives expect even bigger hikes later in the quarter.
Bruce Lefkowitz, EVP, ad sales, FX, says third-quarter scatter increases are 10%-15% so far but "September inventory will be even higher."
Meanwhile, three cable sales operations are moving to counter anti-cable campaigns.
"The Television Bureau of Advertising has been saying for years that DBS growth has eroded wired-cable delivery. That's simply not true," says Jonathan Sims, VP, research, Comcast Ad Sales. "What the TVB conveniently omitted is that the growth of ad-supported cable viewing has been so dramatic it has more than offset any loss in viewing due to the defection of wired-cable homes to ADS," or alternative services, mainly satellite-delivered programming.
Sims provided B&C with Nielsen national People Meter data showing wired cable 1Q total-day household delivery has risen to 15.6 million in 2003 from 14 million in 2002, with prime time delivery at 25.1 million households, up from 24.1 million.
"The TVB raises valid points about ADS delivery," says Jeff Boehme, senior VP, research, National Cable Communications, "but they don't have the access to [NCC] data or methodology. NCC takes into account the penetration of wired cable in each DMA and subtracts out any and all ADS-generated viewing." The crux of TVB's point is that locally inserted cable ads don't air in ADS homes.
The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's new online Competitive Media Center counterattacks with "presentation-ready data that debunks broadcasters' negative assertions about cable."