In his first announcement as CEO, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s
Sean Cunningham estimated Tuesday that the 2003-04 cable upfront totaled $5.68
billion, up 21%, or about $1 billion, from a year ago.
The gain is "the highest-ever single-year increase for a cable upfront," the
CAB said in a press release, adding that its percentage growth outdid that of
the broadcast networks (up 12% to $9.2 billion) and syndication (up 10% to $2.2
Many industry sources, however, have pegged the broadcast upfront at $9.3
Meanwhile, various cable-industry executives said they were still winding
down on the final pieces of their upfront business.
Cunningham, maintaining that "everybody won in this year’s cable upfront,"
said in a prepared statement, "The cable networks won because revenues were way
up and CPMs [cost per thousand homes] climbed. Both buyers and sellers won
because the market moved quickly."
He continued, "And most important, advertisers won because, once again, they
invested more in cable and got more in return versus the broadcast upfront,
where they invested more and got less" -- an indirect reference to cable’s
growing ratings and broadcast’s eroding audience.