CAB: Cable Advertising Hits New Record

More money was spent on cable advertising
on both the national and local levels in 2010 than ever before,
according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, with
the outlook for 2011 equally sanguine.

Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of CAB, pegged
national and
local ad sales
at $27.1 million,
a 12%
rise over the
$24.2 billion
the industry
generated the year before. The good news follows a couple
of years of flat cable ad spending, as the recession clamped
down on marketers’ expenditures.

“The momentum that really began in the third quarter of
2009 continues. The first quarter has been strong thus far and
things look good for the second quarter as well,” Cunningham
said. “It’s like the stairway that keeps climbing.”

Nationally, those dollars scaled up 9.6% to $20.5 billion
from $18.7 billion in 2009. Perhaps more important, the
growth came from across myriad sectors. “We track 47 categories.
The majority, if not all, were up substantially in 2010,”
Cunningham said.

Locally, the cable industry, benefiting
in part
from the 2010
elect ion cycle,
secured a
20% advance
to $6.6 billion,
according to
CAB’s tally, from $5.5 billion. Always a
key driver for local TV, “autos came roaring
back,” Cunningham said. “But to record
that kind of growth, other categories
had to click in.”

Cunningham pointed to health care, whether hospitals or
clinics, financial institutions — “the investment community
needed clients to get back into the markets” — and retail
as sectors that upped their spending last year.

“Retail was vibrant. The stores needed the traffic in order
to merely keep from staying afloat to hopefully put themselves
in a position where they were thriving again,” he said.

Looking ahead to Madison Avenue’s annual bazaar, Cunningham
noted that each upfront is “unique. All of the leading
indicators point to strength, but we’ll have to see. ”