Turner's Kent Bullish On Political Ad Prospects

Philip-I.-KentDespite regular statements that the ad market remains robust, Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent said Thursday it has ebbed in the current quarter.

“No doubt, it’s slowed,” he said.

Yet he added that solid Black Friday spending is encouraging, while cancellations in upfront commitments have been little or nonexistent for the coming first quarter. Also, the scatter market in the first quarter is bringing double-digit increases over upfront levels. Many marketers burned in scatter before have “moved up their spending” and made a “bigger bet” in this past summer’s upfront, cutting dollars out of the current deal-making. 

“We’re optimistic -- and a lot of categories are still spending,” he said at a Broadcasting & Cable event.



He did say he is bullish on CNN’s prospects to attract an “enormous amount” of politically oriented advocacy ads next year during the election season -- partly because unlike Fox News or MSNBC, CNN viewers might be more up for grabs.

“Because we have a disproportionate share of the swing voter, I think we’re going to get a disproportionate share of the dollars,” he said.

Anne Sweeney, who oversees ABC and entertainment cable networks at Disney, indicated that the ad market is doing well, with ABC selling scatter inventory at a 25% pricing increase above the upfront.

“We are sensing some optimism," she said at the B&C event. "I also think ABC is benefiting from increased success."

With "Revenge" and "Once Upon A Time," the network has two promising new shows, while "Good Morning America" and the Diane Sawyer evening newscast are solid.

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