Basic Cable Sales Gain $900M in First Half


As basic cable's viewership continues to expand, the medium has chalked up a better-than-$900 million gain in ad spending during the first half of the year, while broadcast dollars slipped a bit, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of TNS Media Intelligence/CMR data.

The CAB analysis found that ad-supported cable, through network and spot buys, registered some $5.86 billion in ad dollars from January through June 30, an 18.4% increase from $4.95 billion in the first half of 2002. The current-year total represents an all-time high for the medium, $380 million more than the $5.48 million the industry rang up in the first half of 2001.

Broadcast dip

The broadcast networks, meanwhile, posted ad sales of $10.35 billion in the first half of the current year, according to the CAB analysis — off nearly $40 million from the $10.39 billion advertisers spent with those vehicles during the first six months of 2002.

Syndicated TV posted ad sales of $1.64 billion this time around, up 16.3% from $1.41 billion in the 2002 span and slightly ahead of the $1.62 billion allocated in the first half of 2001.

All told, the CAB calculated total TV spending for the half at $17.8 billion during the initial six months of 2003, up from $16.7 billion in the year-earlier period. That total was $780 million higher than the previous record of $17.07 billion in the first half of 2001.

Ad-supported cable claimed 32.8% of this year's first-half take, an all-time high for the medium, according to the CAB. Conversely, broadcast's share declined to 58%, its all-time low.

"The mandate for more and more cable by U.S. advertisers reflects their growing conviction that cable is emerging as the driving force in meeting and exceeding their sales goals and marketing objectives," CAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham said in a statement.

"The record first-half spending comes from an extremely comprehensive list of product and service categories. Cable was the clear first choice for a vast number of 2003 television advertisers."

As for categories, CAB's analysis found the greatest dollar-growth in the first half among the automotive, accessories and equipment sector, which drove a $120 million increase. That was followed by audio/equipment suppliers, who collectively allocated an additional $59 million in ad support behind DVDs, TVs and other electronic devices.

Computers, software and Internet was the third-place category, as marketers upped their cable spending by $51 million during the first half of the year.

Rounding out the top five: restaurants (sit-down, fast-food and otherwise) earmarked an additional $41 million. Medicines and proprietary remedies remained hot, upping ad antes by $41 million.

Leading the way

Among individual companies, Procter & Gamble Co. buttressed its cable budget the most from January to June, with a $58 million jump. General Motors Corp., up $34 million and Microsoft Corp., ahead $34 million, ranked second and third, respectively on this list. PetMedsExpress, which a CAB spokesman said was a sizable spot-buyer, was next, up $32 million.

Other notables: Sony Corp., up $27 million; Johnson & Johnson, ahead $26 million; WorldCom Inc., a $20 million increase; Dell Computer Corp., up $18 million; and Altria Group (née Phillip Morris), a $17 million gain.