Bring On The Elections!


Andrew Capone
Senior VP, Marketing and Business Development

There’s a decidedly local flavor to the 2006 political marketplace, with 36 governors seats and all 435 members of the U.S. House up for re-election. For the local cable advertising medium and rep firms like NCC (once formally known as the National Cable Coopeerative), that’s good news. NCC’s Andrew Capone, a former sales executive for NBC’s owned-and-operated station group and a political ad sales veteran, recently shared his thoughts about spot cable’s place in the forthcoming political advertising season. An edited transcript follows:

How is the political advertising marketplace looking for spot cable?

We’re very optimistic. There are really no national races in 2006. It’s all local: Congress, dogcatcher, you name it. And 2004 proved that cable is an extremely effective platform for political advertising

Where does on-demand fit in to the picture?

There are various approaches among MSOs, with each applying its own rules and regulations to on demand advertising for the political category. It could be an effective platform. But the core vehicle will continue to be traditional spot advertising for politicians, parties and political action committees.

Beyond on demand, what’s different from 2004? Higher ratings?

Higher ratings, yes, but not only that, we have some new research that really points toward where the voters are, for each party and each candidate, and we’re able to put very smart plans together using primary and qualitative research to pinpoint them.

Do you feel the rising role of the Internet as a political fund-raising and communications tool could diminish cable’s role?

Not really. Everything’s got its place. I would argue that the Internet is probably really good at fundraising, or digging deeply into a candidate’s platform. So certainly there’s some great information there. But it’s probably more likely to replace direct mail than television advertising. There’s no question the Internet is growing exponentially. But there’s nothing to indicate TV will be less a factor. And in a race where every county counts, spot cable is able to be particularly effective.

The political ad market always seems to highlight inventory pressures that can occur in the local cable market. Does the industry have enough inventory today?

Forty to 60 networks in almost every market provides us with a lot of inventory. We’re not running out. One could argue that the walls could be shifted between local, regional and national inventory with a bit more flexibility…to allow for greater demand from the national business in certain dayparts. But there’s certainly no shortage. Ultimately, digital insertion will change things. At some point there’s going to be a way to almost infinitely insert.

--Interviewed by Stewart Schley