New York -- Time Warner CityCable president Larry Fischer
warned account executives that in today's bullish cable-advertising climate, they
face increasing pressure from management to keep notching ever bigger local ad-sales
Fresh from budget meetings, Fischer said at the Cable
Advertising Association of New York's ninth-annual "Training Day" for
account executives Sept. 1 that given TWCC's increasingly strong local sales results,
management at Time Warner Cable is "relying on us to [continue to] deliver dollars to
the bottom line."
CAANY president Gregory Maugeri made a similar point. But
he added that times have changed from the days when "at times, it was downright war
with clients" to sell cable.
The good news is that "your third-quarter 2000 [sales
are] going to be off the charts," Fischer predicted.
In the No. 1 DMA, he added, sales will continue climbing,
"whether this market unifies or doesn't" -- a reference to Time Warner
having been outside of the New York Interconnect for more than one year.
Separately, Fischer said in an interview that TWCC closed
the first half "up a whopping 78 percent," with New York 1 News alone up 17
His sales operation is already well on its way to "a
great finish" for 1999, due to its locally sold-out U.S. Open tennis tournament on
USA Network (Aug. 30 through Sept. 12) and "virtually sold-out" avails on New
York Yankees and Mets Major League Baseball coverage.
"I'm excited about 2000," he said.
"People are spending" on advertising. The healthiest categories include
automotive (both factory and dealer), telecommunications (including Bell Atlantic Corp.),
retail (Macy's, IKEA Systems B.V.), music retailers (Tower Records) and
sporting-goods retailers (Modell's Sporting Goods Inc., The Sports Authority Inc.).
In addition, TWCC has "cracked some new
categories" -- notably fast-food outlets, like McDonald's Corp. -- he said.
Another segment posting hefty growth, Fischer told the
CAANY audience, is Web-related marketers, or the so-called dot-coms.
One "incredible success story" in particular, he
added, is Kozmo.com, an upstart taking on Blockbuster Entertainment by delivering video
rentals, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and popcorn to Manhattan residents. Kozmo has
budgeted seven figures for next year's advertising, tied to its expansion into
Brooklyn and Queens, he noted.
Speaking of the Internet, he urged operators to sell Web
sites in conjunction with cable inventory, but without giving it away.
Political advertising will be one of the major contributors
to TWCC's bullish 2000 outlook, Fischer said.
"We're kind of salivating over this
Giuliani-Clinton thing -- we can't wait for it, for both to announce," he said,
referring to the possible Senate race between New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and
first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. TWCC fully expects heftier dollars than what came in
from last year's Senate race between Charles Schumer and Alphonse D'Amato, he
Another speaker, Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau
president Joseph Ostrow, offered some sales advice for his audience -- mostly in their 20s
and 30s -- before touching on broader issues during a question-and-answer segment.
The CAB is working with the American Association of
Advertising Agencies, he said, to mount a local audience research panel for an upcoming
"Four A's" media conference.
Ostrow added that the cable industry needs to get Nielsen
Media Research to improve its local research, but cable operators need to "ante
up" funds to support its "PeopleMeters."
Ostrow downplayed concerns about cable-ratings erosion due
to growth in new networks, as well as the Internet.
"There's a little bit of cannibalization [by
newer networks]," he said, but most of it is new viewing. "[The buying theory
known as] recency says spread the message -- be there all of the time."
With so many networks, he added, "cable is a very good
deliverer of the recency theory."