National Cable Communications, which notched a 24 percent gain to $550
million in spot-cable ad sales last year, is looking at a 26 percent lift this
year, according to executive vice president and director of sales Andrew
That projection is well above the 20 percent growth rate NCC forecast late
Ward said there are "high expectations" that the momentum will continue
through 2003, even without political advertising -- a segment that represented 6
percent of the rep firm's volume last year.
NCC will finish the first quarter 33 percent ahead of the corresponding 2002
period, he estimated, or 4 percent over budget. "The second quarter is also
pacing well ahead -- plus 29 percent," he added.
These sanguine predictions are not surprising due to healthy scatter sales,
which are expected to fuel a robust 2003-2004 upfront marketplace for both
broadcast and cable networks.
Despite his bullish projections, Ward conceded that there are clouds that
could dampen the forecasts.
"Obviously, a few variables have us a little cautious" about the second
quarter and the remainder of this year, he added: the war in Iraq, the lowest
consumer-confidence index and auto sales in 25 months and January retail sales
"significantly behind" that month in 2002.