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Broadcast, Cable Nets Unite Vs. Online Content

With digital video gobbling up ad dollars that used to be earmarked for television, broadcasters and cable programmers are teaming up to form a new trade association aimed at highlighting the power of advertising on the kind of premium, professionally produced video content traditionally originating on TV.

The new Video Advertising Bureau will replace the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, whose mission had been seeking equality for cable networks with the older, mostly more viewed broadcast networks. ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW have signed on with the new organization.

“Our industry is changing rapidly, however one constant is the unquestionable power of television to reach consumers with advertiser messaging,” said Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales at Discovery Networks and inaugural co-chair of the VAB. “By broadcasters, cable networks and distributors coming together in this unprecedented way, VAB members will share expertise and insights, put forward original research and push toward a common goal of elevating television’s leadership in driving product sales and brand affinity for clients.”

Sean Cunningham, who had been president and CEO of CAB, will have the same titles at VAB.

The group decided to use the word “video” in the group’s title because that’s the way customers look at the market, said Cunnigham, who says the organization represents premium, multi-platform television.

“Anyone who is saying you don’t need world-class content and can just do an algorithmic end run around TV is a danger to product sales,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham pointed to statistics showing that the more ways viewers can get video, the more they continue to choose premium TV content. According to research company’s GfK’s 2014 U.K.-U.S. SVOD study, TV content accounts for 88% of all streaming activity in the U.S.

The name Television Bureau of Advertising is already used by an organization representing local stations. Cunningham said the VAB has talked with the TVB and both represent the best TV content.

Cunningham added that VAB is open to syndicators and streaming video outfits that create quality multiplatform video as well.

The VAB is in the process of putting an expanded board together. In addition to Cunningham, its staff includes Chuck Thompson, executive VP and Danielle DeLauro, senior VP strategic sales insights.

The organization said it plans to provide advertisers with one source for the best research, insight and perspective on video advertising. Importantly, this will include new primary research on the impact of TV advertising.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.