Rank Sees Cable Upfront Starting Mid-June


During the cable upfront session of the Upfront Summit Wednesday, OMD USA
managing director of broadcast television Dan Rank predicted, 'Probably
mid-June, we'll get cranking on [cable's upfront].'

Rank also observed, 'My mood's very relaxed,' unlike the past two upfront
seasons. 'A slower pace like last year is to everyone's benefit,' he added.

ESPN ABC Sports customer-marketing president Ed Erhardt said, 'There's going
to be more money' for cable, in part following the National Basketball
Association's shifting from NBC to ESPN/ABC.

E! Entertainment Television executive vice president David Cassaro said, 'I
feel a lot better [about the upfront] than a year ago,' though less so than two
years ago.

Addressing repurposing broadcast fare to cable, Rank warned, 'The danger's
more on the broadcast side . Broadcast pricing is much higher than cable, [so]
it's a real slippery slope for the [TV] networks.'

Throughout the summit -- cosponsored by Advertising Age and
Electronic Media --
there were references to published reports that OMD was
finalizing cross-platform mega-deals of $1 billion each at Viacom Inc. and The
Walt Disney Co.

Officials from those companies were unreachable for comment, and executives
at the Summit from OMD and from Viacom- and Disney-owned companies neither
confirmed nor denied the accounts.