Ad Buyers Eye Cables Scatter Market

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With a hefty upfront-sales effort under their belts, cable
networks are now girding for scatter and calendar-year negotiations with the advertising
community.

Lifetime Television senior vice president of ad sales Lynn
Picard said there are already "a couple of calendar-year deals pending" -- for
instance, from The Coca-Cola Co.

Those negotiations, for buys slated to break starting in
January, don't usually begin until closer to August or September, but this is an unusual
ad-sales year.

"We're already getting calls [from agencies] on
fourth-quarter scatter," Picard said. But Lifetime first wants "to get our ducks
in a row," she added, "since everything came down so fast [in the
upfront]."

The fact that the upfront finished so strong will put
pressure on the post-upfront inventory available for scatter, she said.

Traditionally, the upfront marketplace has run until the
Fourth of July -- or even into August when sales were slow, recalled E! Entertainment
Television executive vice president David Cassaro.

This spring, the upfront was swift. The
broadcast-television networks wrapped their upfront marketplace before the end of May, and
cable's began in earnest during the first week of June, mostly wrapping up two weeks ago.

ESPN senior vice president of ad sales Jeffrey Mahl begged
off on sizing up the scatter market last week since his network has about three weeks
remaining in its upfront-sales effort.

ESPN, he said, "has had a positive response to the
integrated-sales packages out there," which have enabled it to "significantly
increase the number of clients that take advantage of this [concept]."

In any case, cable's scatter-marketplace bargaining isn't
likely to break until closer to mid-July, a Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. spokesman
maintained.

But many cable executives already seemed to be champing at
the bit. A&E Television Networks senior vice president of ad sales Arlene Manos, who
felt that her projection of $3.6 billion was "right on" for cable's upfront,
expects a strong scatter market, as well.

Indeed, the broadcast networks were already said to be
doing fourth-quarter scatter deals with agencies.

Accounts in the Internet-related "dot.com"
category that stayed out of the TV upfront were among those willing to pay higher prices
for the fourth-quarter Christmas selling season, apparently to get into series that they
couldn't buy during the upfront, some cable sources said.

As for calendar-year deals, the major categories include
financial services, insurance, packaged goods and office equipment, cable sources said.

Some packaged-goods clients "had difficulty getting
money down because of their lower CPM [cost per thousand homes] bases" than what
cable was offering, Cassaro said.

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