Cable Show 2009: What's Keeping Cable Execs Up At Night3/30/2009 11:28 AM Eastern
As cable executives congregate in our nation's capital this week Cable Show '09, they do so with chests puffed out slightly relative to their broadcast brethren. While the advertising slowdown resulting from the battered economy has undoubtedly taken its toll, the cable networks are still enjoying a continued run of good buzz, thanks in part to cable's dual-revenue-stream model and another year of hit originals. Cable chiefs are boasting of narrowing the CPM gap with the major broadcast networks as they continue to amass buzz-worthy hits and major sports properties, and NBC Universal now says its television side is a cable business that oh-by-the-way has a broadcast network. But there are some indications that if the cable networks do not mind their shops, they could quickly take on a slew of problems. Costs are rising, as is the pressure to keep up the string of hits, and now is hardly the time to be cocky. Just ask all the music and TV station executives who have had to adjust to a different way of life. So as the industry descends on Washington, B&C spoke with several cable network chiefs to take their temperature on the challenges they face. From those conversations emerged five things that they had better keep an eye on, or risk losing their lofty status within the TV industry.