CAB Looks Ahead to 2006

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Salt Lake City -- Cable buyers and sellers eagerly looked ahead to 2006 in a
session at the Local Cable Sales Management Conference here Sunday dubbed
'Preparing Your Sales Operation for the Future.'

When asked by moderator and Lifetime Television senior vice president of
research Tim Brooks what would be different four years hence, National Cable
Communications CEO Tom Olson foresaw improved buying and selling of inventory
via a Web-based system that's now only getting under way.

He also expected the trend toward greater targeting of commercial messages to
different consumer segments -- as popularized by Adlink, the Los Angeles
interconnect -- to be far more widespread.

Horizon Media Inc. senior VP and director of local TV/radio/cable Lourdes
Marquez maintained that 'the need to communicate' will still be paramount since
the buying and selling of commercial time will still be 'a people business.'

Cable systems' ability to target neighborhoods will continue to be important
in 2006, via cable programming and local Web sites, Cox Communications Inc.
Phoenix general manager Steve Rizley said.

And local advertisers will still be interested in more than conventional
'spots and dots' and eager to 'attach our clients' message' to that local focus,
he added.

Olson felt that cable is succeeding in getting the message out to the ad
community that it's made spot-cable buying more buyer-friendly than ever, that
systems have on average virtually doubled their rosters of networks available
for local ad-insertion and that cable's ratings story continues to improve at
broadcast's expense.

But, he added, cable has to be 'even more vocal' on those scores.

NCC has now pitched 160 ad agencies on the spot-cable rep firm's paperless
Web-based avails system, and it has gone back to 80 of those to provide
training, Olson said.

Marquez acknowledged that spot cable has become far less cumbersome than a
few years ago, when 'we had visions of people with carts of [paper]
invoices.'

Olson said ad-agency planners don't ask NBC just for pricing on
Friends; instead, they buy that sitcom as part of a package. Thus, he
wondered why these planners were unwilling to package more than five core
networks in their clients' cable buys.

Addressing local-ratings issues, Olson said Nielsen Media Research's local
People Meter in Boston, Arbitron Inc.'s Portable People Meter in Philadelphia
and ADcom Information Services Inc.'s local set-meter cable ratings in five
markets are all better than Nielsen's much-criticized diary methodology.

Our argument to [ADcom] is: Get it into more markets. Five is not enough,'
Olson said. ADcom has indicated that it intends to add five more markets to its
list.

Meanwhile, he said, Nielsen plans to add nine more local People Meter markets
in five years and Arbitron will need a minimum of three years before it can
expand the PPM beyond Philadelphia.

Given all that, Olson added, 'We'll still have to live with Nielsen' at least
into 2006.

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