MAB to Expand: Sees Strong Latin Ad Growth


The Multichannel Advertising Bureau International (MAB)
plans to enter a new phase of expansion, and managing director Connie Pettit will stay at
the helm of the trade group, which promotes pay TV advertising outside of the United

At the same time, Pettit said, Latin America is expected to
register the biggest growth rate in pay TV advertising revenue over the past year, well
outpacing Europe and Asia.

News of expansion at the MAB -- a unit of the U.S.-focused
Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau -- follows an earlier decision by Pettit to leave the
organization to pursue consulting work. The possibility of Pettit's departure led to some
speculation that the MAB was on weak footing.

"I had said that I wanted to go back to my
consultantcy, but [the board] thought differently and persuaded me to stay," Pettit

The MAB plans to expand its staff, adding a research
director and a public-relations director. It is also likely to work to develop new
research, to make more information available on its Web site and to harmonize research and
data from Latin America, Europe and Asia.

The MAB will not release its 1998 pay TV
advertising-revenue data until next month. However, Latin America is expected to register
growth of more than 25 percent versus 1997, Pettit said. Meanwhile, Asia and Europe should
each grow by 15 percent to 20 percent.

In 1997, Latin America generated a total of $76.6 million
in multichannel-advertising revenue. The 1998 figure is expected to come close to $100
million. Multichannel ad spending totaled $316.4 million in Europe in 1997, and it reached
$253.6 million in Asia.

"I am seeing a positive upside in [Latin American]
multichannel-TV advertising," Pettit said, noting a considerable interest in
advertising on a national level.

What's more, "Brazil is ready to open up this
summer," Pettit added, referring to plans by Brazil-based media-research company
Ibope International to publish ratings information on that country's pay TV networks this

With subscriber growth expected to be flat at best across
Latin America this year, programmers are keener than ever to mine advertising as a revenue

However, Pettit said, she does not expect the
subscriber-fee-to-ad-revenue ratio in Latin America to significantly shift in the near
term from its current 80-20 level.