New York -- National spot cable, setting a brisk pace
throughout 1997, finished the year with $242 million -- up a record 26 percent over 1996,
the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau reported late last week.
That was the largest annual percentage gain since CAB began
tracking spot sales in 1993, bolstered by a blistering 37 percent third-quarter pace. In
dollars, the '97 increase totaled $49.4 million.
CAB cited about a half-dozen "hot" categories for
1997 spot sales, including automotive, financial, entertainment/media, professional
services, drugs/toiletries/household products and specialty retailing.
MSOs and the spot cable rep firms National Cable
Communications and Cable Networks Inc. enjoyed healthy gains throughout '97. Although
most tended to cite the same segments as CAB did, some like NCC and CNI also mentioned
telecommunications as a biggie.
National spot's record performance was all the more
remarkable since it had to offset a 1996 presidential election year in which political
campaigns spent a "significant" amount in cable, said Bill Stanfield,
chairperson of CAB's committee on national spot advertising and president of StarNet
Inc./Radius Communications. NCC executive vice president and CEO John Sawhill had made a
similar point last year.
The accelerated momentum also was attributable to
cable's "continued progress with digital insertion and interconnect
expansion," Stanfield said. Both offer advertisers greater flexibility than ever and
interconnects' one-stop-shopping concept makes spot cable easier to buy and more
user-friendly, various cable sources agreed.