Ad Bonanza: Cable Upfront Draws $8 Billion


Cable networks rode a perceived economic uptick to draw a record $8 billion-plus collectively in the vigorous upfront market this summer. The amount was 19% higher than in the languid 2009 market, while the total commitments were on par with the broadcast networks for the first time, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.

This year's $8.03 billion was also 5% higher than in 2008, meaning that cable more than made up for the decline brought by the recession last year. And the industry returned to its yearly growth path since 2001.

Cable had a 50% share of the cable-broadcast market for the first time; broadcasters also took in about $8 billion, the CAB said. And it crossed $8 billion -- a milestone.

Cable has steadily been growing share, from 36% in the summer of 2002 to 46% in 2009 to 50% this summer, per the CAB. Cable matching broadcast in share has resulted as broadcasters sold more inventory this year than last.



Now it will be up to the cable networks to hold onto the commitments if the economy, which looked sturdy in the early summer, stumbles again. Several factors have helped cable: some economic recovery, marketers willing to invest, well-regarded original programming and a tight scatter market in the spring. All aided broadcast and cable alike.

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