Cable ads outperforming expectations

Year's sales at $18.7 billion, up 1.8% from last year

With less than a month before the year ends, U.S. cable networks are poised to outperform earlier expectations.

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau projects a year-over-year volume increase growth of 1.8%, with cable nets amassing $18.7 billion in ad sales.

That estimate marks a $330 million increase from last year's $18.4 billion haul.
"Ad budgets were under intense scrutiny, so the increase is extremely gratifying," said CAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham, who added that the organization did "a lot of work with agencies and advertisers on cable's gains in original programming, ratings and reach analysis."

Cable thrived even as the recession took a bite out of all other major media. All told, national advertising declined by about 14% compared with the year-ago period.
Ad sales dollars grew despite a contracted upfront marketplace.

According to the CAB, network dollar volume was down 13% to $6.6 billion in the 2009-10 upfront bazaar, a decline that reflected advertiser pullback and a shift to scatter spending. In 2008, cable nets landed $7.7 billion in upfront commitments.

In October, Mediaweek estimated cable upfront volume was down 12% to $6.73 billion.
With the 2009 numbers in hand, cable is on track to racking up an eighth consecutive year of ad sales growth.

Since 2001, when the nets took in $11.8 billion in ad sales revenue, the total dollar amount has increased by 59%.