Even though his TV portfolio includes a broadcast network, AOL Time Warner
Inc. chief Richard Parsons took up the cable cause Tuesday, urging media buyers to
recognize the value and efficiency of cable advertising over broadcast networks.
"Old habits die hard, but they must when they fly in the face of logic,"
Parsons said of ad buyers' preference for the reach of broadcast networks. AOL
Time Warner's chairman-elect was the keynote speaker at the Cabletelevision
Advertising Bureau's annual gathering in New York.
Cable executives joined Parsons in stumping for their industry, noting
cable's recent ratings gains and original-programming initiatives.
"On cable, we've seen a raising of quality," USA Network president Doug
Herzog said. "Cable was the home of low-quality, low-rent shows, but the quality is
coming up and becoming a great alternative to the [broadcast] networks."
There was also plenty of talk about broadcasters' latest love -- reality shows.
"We've seen newsmagazines and game shows do well for a while, now it's
reality," FX CEO Peter Liguori said, adding that reality shows really have to tell a
compelling story to be a success.
Despite broadcast hits from reality, cable programmers said they are not
dramatically stepping up reality development.
Even Parsons dished on the reality-programming trend. "Hoola-hoops and discos
were also things people couldn't get enough of," he said. "Reality will take its
place and top-quality scripted programming will keep its