Q2: Signs of Improvement

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Cable’s local advertising business showed more spark in the second quarter as the two largest sellers of local commercial time reported stronger year-to-year revenue growth vs. the first quarter. Also, the average revenue gain among four publicly held MSOs improved.

  • Comcast Corp., the No. 1 cable advertising company, said its advertising revenue rose 8.5% for the April-June period, to $394 million vs. $363 million a year earlier. In the first quarter of this year, Comcast reported its ad revenues grew by 4.4% from a year earlier. Through the first half of the year, Comcast recorded ad sales revenue of $704 million, up 6.6% from $660 million in 2005.
  • Time Warner Cable, the second largest sector participant, reported its quarterly advertising revenue rose 4.4% to $142 million. That’s in contrast to a first-quarter decline of 1.7%. Time Warner Cable’s first-half advertising revenue was $259 million, up modestly from $255 million in 2005.

Among other MSOs:

  • Charter Communications Inc. reported second-quarter ad revenue of $79 million, up 8.2%. Charter’s first-half ad revenue of $147 million was 8.9% higher than a year earlier.
  • Insight Communications Co. said its second-quarter advertising revenue increased 1.4%, to $20 million. For the first half, Insight recorded $37.7 million in ad sales, up slightly from $36.7 million a year ago.

The average second quarter ad-revenue gain among the four MSOs to report results so far is 7.3%. That’s an improvement over the 3.5% average increase among six MSOs in the first quarter, a number that trailed overall U.S. ad-spending increases reported by TNS Media Intelligence. Industry executives say a slow-moving national spot market contributed to the slower first quarter growth.

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