/// Good News/Bad News: Cable Notches Record Upfront Haul, but Market Is Slumping
After two consecutive years of record growth, the cable advertising market has cooled down considerably—and if the current scatter market is any indication, the networks could be in for a long, cold winter. According to calculations made by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, ad-supported cable networks this summer generated nearly $9.8 billion in upfront commitments, and while that represents a record haul, it’s also just $511 million more than the 2011-12 total. That 5 percent year-over-year improvement pales in comparison to the 16 percent volume increase delivered in last year’s bazaar, when cable nets took in $9.29 billion in advance sales , or $1.28 billion more than in the 2010-11 upfront. Cable upfront sales have been on the rise for the last three years, soaring 45 percent since the “correction-year” 2009-10 bazaar. But a stagnant economy threw cold water on what sales execs hoped would be yet another strong summer selloff and there’s been little relief on the scatter front. As was the case a year ago, fourth quarter scatter pricing is trending flat or slightly higher than the rates established in the upfront. Political dollars could help spark a rally in late October, but for the time being the market remains soft.
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Good News/Bad News: Cable Notches Record Upfront Haul, but Market Is Slumping