A Barclays Capital report continues the trend of forecasting a stellar upfront for cable networks, but throws some cold water on the ad market at large. Volume for the cable market is projected to jump about 15% over a year ago. Cable is expected to take in total dollars on par with the Big Four broadcast networks for the first time, with both at $9.2 billion.
The report, authored by analyst Anthony DiClemente, does offer favorable predictions for the Big Four broadcasters in commanding price increases. CBS would lead the pack with a 12% gain -- with ABC and Fox up 10%, followed by NBC, up 8%.
Driving upfront health would be a strong scatter market, prompting buyers to lock in inventory before suffering down the road. Cable should also benefit from higher ratings that have chipped into broadcast viewership.
At the same time, with the print and outdoor sectors showing mild performances, Barclays is lowering its forecast for the full U.S. ad market for 2011 to 2.9% growth from 3.9%.
Also, the projection for 2012, even with an Olympics and campaign cycle, has been lowered from 6% to 5.2% -- although TV and Internet dollars should be up.
Barclays wrote that local print and outdoor advertising may be increasingly losing out to the Web, notably with the emergence of Groupon and LivingSocial as options.