CAB Pegs Cable’s Upfront At $7.65 Billion

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The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau has estimated that ad-supported cable networks tallied some $7.65 million in upfront revenues for the 2008-09 season.

That figure represents a 9.3% increase from $7 billion for the 2007-08 Madison Avenue bazaar, according to CAB.

The group said the $650 million improvement in upfront revenue stemmed from advertisers’ recognition of the medium’s ratings and reach gains over the past TV season. Moreover, the success of ad-supported cable’s original programming, complemented its well-established brands, fueling multiplatform solutions for a growing number of sponsors, according to CAB.

“We’re confident advertiser demand will continue to increase on the merit of audience gains driven by cable’s rich mix of successful original programming and proven acquired favorites housed inside video’s most powerful brands,” said CAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham in a statement. “Cable’s performance has earned the cornerstone of any major advertiser’s media plan.”

Meanwhile, Jack Myers Media Business Report pegged cable’s 2008-09 upfront sales at $7.8 billion, an 11-12% rise from the prior season.

Ad industry analyst Myers put the cable industry upfront's cost-per-thousand advances in the 6.8% to 7.5% range, with TBS/TNT, USA Network, Scripps and ESPN generating CPM gains averaging between 8% and 9%. News network CPMs were also strong.

Myers, also cited cable’s rating growth, plus larger subscriber base, as reasons for the improvement. The report noted that the availability of an increased inventory supply often has a negative impact on costs. In addition to CPM gains, cable sold an estimated t 10% to 12% more inventory in this year's upfront, compared to the prior season.

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