Being Original

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Ad-supported cable networks’ balance of acquiring existing product with original programming is powering the entire television industry, according to research from the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.

“While acquired favorites continue to contribute to cable’s success, the investment in original content which comprises more than two-thirds of the total programming offered has become the biggest factor in accelerating television’s overall growth,” CAB said in its white paper.

An analysis of the past five years found that the success can be attributed to the collective $19 billion investment in original programming made by ad-supported cable networks. This has led to strong viewer followings, consistent ratings growth and critical acclaim for dramas such as TNT’s The Closer, AMC’s Mad Men, USA’s Burn Notice, FX’s Damages and Lifetime’s Army Wives.

In 2003, original programming made up 59% of the total programming on ad-supported networks. Today, that number is 67%, according to CAB. Ratings and share for cable are up in key demographics, while broadcast numbers are down. It simply makes sense to sell cable as the superior deliverer of eyeballs.