/// Cable Closes the Books on a Solid Season

June 25, 2012  |  Media Week

As the cable upfront market winds down, networks and advertisers have just one little thing to worry about: the future. With brands preparing to roll out a whole range of new products as the third quarter begins and the fourth quarter fast approaches, they are aggressively investing marketing dollars against all those new gadgets, cars and movies. Coming out of the upfront, TV networks are sitting pretty, with Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne putting cable’s haul at $9.69 billion, up 4.3 percent versus last year, and broadcast at $9.16 billion, a 1 percent uptick. Among the categories stoking business is technology, as competition among Web browsers heats up and Microsoft readies Windows 8 and its new tablet computer, the Surface, a rival to Apple’s iPad. Luxury automakers are also putting money into the market. “You’ll definitely see more from the Audis and the BMW’s—the 1 percenters,” said one buyer. The jury is still out on makers of less expensive cars, including the single most controversial player in this year’s upfront. But General Motors’ avowal to sit out network negotiations could serve it well, suggested Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser. “If they’re truly indifferent about the context around which their creative messages appear, I think they’ll be doing well for themselves,” he said. Others are more skeptical. Not only is it difficult to imagine GM promoting its two new truck models absent spots during sports programming, but the automaker also has debts to pay, as one ad insider pointed out. Meanwhile, CMO Joel Ewanick appears eager to shake things up. Some advertisers are getting bumped into the scatter market simply because of the way their businesses work.

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Cable Closes the Books on a Solid Season

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