Cable Shows Connect

Viewers are more loyal to cable networks and even find the commercials on basic-cable networks more relevant to them than spots on broadcast, said Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau executives, citing the results of a new survey.

"We've got an undeniable pattern of very strong connectivity between cable brands and cable networks," said CAB president Sean Cunningham, who will present some of the findings from a CAB-commissioned SRI/Knowledge Networks survey at a Monday afternoon panel session during the National Show in New Orleans.

CAB executives are adding some of the findings from the survey to a "One TV World" presentation the association has been giving to media buyers. That CAB presentation stresses that cable has achieved parity with broadcast, in terms of reach.


Asked to describe how loyal they are to programs viewed on broadcast and cable, 39% of respondents said they consider themselves loyal to cable programs, while 21% picked broadcast and 11% cited both media equally.

When asked which medium consistently shows the best programs, 57% picked cable while 19% went with broadcast.

Respondents also said they pay more attention to ads on cable (44%) compared to broadcast (31%). CAB said 38% of respondents said cable ads "are more relevant to me," versus the 34% who said broadcast ads were more relevant.

In terms of personal fit, 47% of respondents said they would miss cable networks if they were no longer available, while 23% said they would miss broadcast networks. CAB said 46% of respondents said cable networks "complement my lifestyle," compared to 15% for broadcast.

But when viewers first sit down to channel surf, more of them watch broadcast networks than cable. The survey found that 45% of respondents tune to broadcast networks when they don't know in advance what programs they're going to watch, compared to 43% who flip to ad-supported cable and 6% that first tune to a premium cable channel.

The survey also found that viewers are increasingly relying on electronic program guides to find out what's on TV, which is good news for Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. and other guide vendors.

CAB said 33% of survey respondents said they use an electronic program guide to find out what's on TV during the evening. The second most popular method was "flipping channels," followed by TV Guide
magazine (20%), other printed listings (20%) and TV advertisements (14%).

Another 9% of respondents said they "just know what's on," while 5% indicated that they decide what to watch based on word of mouth.

CAB plans to detail some of the findings from the survey this week on a new Web site it's launching at While CAB's Web site will permanently switch to, Cunningham said CAB has no plans to change its name to One TV World.


The survey of 2,000 adults aged 18 to 64 was conducted during February and March to ensure that that the broadcast sweeps period was reflected in the findings, Cunningham said.

In coming weeks, CAB plans to release additional findings from the survey, including questions pertaining to the effects of digital video recorders on TV viewing. Respondents were asked how they use DVRs, including whether they use the devices to fast-forward through commercials.

"I think as an industry, all learning about PVRs, regardless of source, are things that you really want to have to share with the adverting and media community because of its potential importance," Cunningham said.