Upfront moving up, says McGowan


In contrast with more conservative Wall Street estimates of flat 2 percent
growth, Discovery Networks U.S. executive vice president of ad sales Bill McGowan predicted that upfront spending will pick up 5 percent this season, with cable writing
$500 million in new business.

Broadcast networks will take in $7 billion and cable networks $4.5 billion,
McGowan said Wednesday in New York as part of Discovery's upfront presentation.

Cable will increase its share because it is a more efficient and more
targeted medium, McGowan said.

Meanwhile, he added, "Broadcast networks' ability to generate large boxcar
ratings is down."

He predicted that cable networks will receive a 43 percent share of upfront
revenue, up from 39 percent last year.

Also at Discovery's presentation Wednesday, president and chief operating officer Judith McHale
said the company will shell out $370 million for 3,000 hours of original
programming this year, including $150 million for Discovery Channel.

Some of Discovery Channel's take will go to five new series, including Hi
Tech History
and Building Big, a look at how modern marvels like
skyscrapers and bridges are created.

The Learning Channel will continue its cult hit, Trading Spaces,
including college and celebrity redecorating episodes. A new companion series,
While You Were Out, will launch in the fourth quarter.

Animal Planet, the only Discovery network experimenting with fictional,
scripted programming, is planning six new movies and a sitcom, Bad