Cable's Upfront Soars, But How High?

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Many executives said the cable upfront is all over but the counting. There
was agreement that the market rose but some disagreement as to how high.

Although TheNew York Times said the marketplace 'could reach
as much as $4.8 billion,' for a 20 percent rise from a year ago, most cable
executives contacted by Multichannel News put cable's upfront in the $4.6
billion range, representing a 15 percent uptick from the year-ago $4
billion.

Jack Myers, Jack Myers Reports editor, said Friday, 'It looks to me
that the cable upfront has generated about $4.6 billion.'

He added, 'ESPN, Turner [Broadcasting System Inc.], E! [Entertainment
Television], MTV: Music Television and FX did especially well. Almost every
network made budget.'

'Pieces of business are still being transacted, but we're virtually done,'
Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. spokesman Jim Weiss said. 'It's not out of the
question that the industry could grow by 20 percent, but we think it'll be
closer to 15 percent.'

Turner executives have long said that they can gauge the overall cable
upfront volume better than most because they tend to account for about 25
percent of the total.

Myers guessed that there is another $100 million to $200 million or more
still to be spent in the cable upfront, where he felt that negotiations should
continue for another 60 days.

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