Cable Nets Add Ad Inventory, Broadcast Trims Back

Against the backdrop of weaker fourth-quarter TV advertising spending and viewership, TV networks — especially cable networks — added commercial inventory.

Cable networks on average added 7% more units — to 251,156 in the period, according to a report by MoffettNathanson Research using TiVo research data. Ratings-challenged broadcast network Fox added 15% more spots to 9,464 for the fourth quarter.

Three other broadcast networks trimmed back supply: NBC cut 6% to 29,899; ABC was down 2% to 26,472; and CBS was down 2% to 33,690. When including Fox, broadcasters on average lowered the amount of commercial units 2% to 99,525.

The biggest cable groups to increase commercial supply were Viacom at 13% to 805,788; A&E, adding 10% to 346,087; Discovery Communications, up 9% to 401,171; and Scripps Networks Interactive, growing 7% to 350,627.



Looking at prime-time commercial ratings for all viewers, both broadcast and cable networks were down 7% during the period. CBS grew 2% to average 2.48 million viewers; ABC was flat at 2.3 million; NBC was down 11% to 3.2 million; and Fox was steeply off 21% to 2.0 million.

Two of the biggest cable networks to add commercial time were two of the biggest to lose viewership: Viacom was down 15% to 2.8 million and A&E off 24% to 1.4 million.

Other cable network viewing performances included: Scripps, which lost 4% to 1.0 million; Disney Channels, giving up 5% to 2.4 million; Discovery, off 6% to 1.8 million; AMC Networks, losing 8% to 926,000; Time Warner, down 10% to 2.7 million; and NBCU, trimming 13% to 2.4 million.

Only Fox cable channels -- which rose 11% to 1.7 million -- and independent networks -- up 4% to 1.5 million -- were higher.
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