Most MSOs, if not all of them, came off a healthy 1999 and
expected this year to be even more robust.
Time Warner Cable vice president of ad sales Larry Zipin
offered different ways to look at its fourth-quarter and full-year 1999 ad sales results
-- all "terrific."
In the MSO's final tally, which included acquisitions and
consolidations, ad sales in the final quarter soared 50 percent and the full-year increase
was 47 percent, he said.
Factoring out various system acquisitions and
consolidations for a "same-store" comparison, Zipin said, sales in both the last
quarter and the entire year jumped 38 percent, surpassing budget projections.
MediaOne Group Inc. vice president of ad sales Ed Dunbar
said the fourth quarter and full-year 1999 proved to be "great, very strong. The
fourth quarter ran roughly 30 percent ahead of ," he added, while "total
year was up 31 percent."
At Cable One Inc., vice president of ad sales Ron Pancratz
enjoyed "a great quarter and a great year," with the former up somewhere in the
20s percentagewise and the year up 34 percent. That annual growth was 22 percent over
budget, he noted.
MediaOne's gross revenue per subscriber soared to $54 last
year from $40, while its margins were a "pretty damned efficient 65 percent,"
Cable One's strong showing lifted the MSO's gross revenue
per subscriber to "around $40," Pancratz said.
At Time Warner, Zipin said, it was difficult to come up
with a precise per-subscriber figure because of acquisitions and consolidations during
1999, but it was "up significantly" over 1998.
Like most major-market interconnects, MSO executives
downplayed risks inherent in the dot-com sector's volatile ad spending. They explained
that cable has been far less affected by the category's ups and downs than broadcast has.
Dunbar, for one, said dot-com spending was
"healthy," but by no means as hefty as the levels being enjoyed by network cable
or broadcast TV and radio. That also meant MediaOne didn't have some of the roller-coaster
problems associated with dot-coms, he noted.
Categories bolstering Cable One's results were "a lot
of the usual suspects," led by automotive, which Pancratz described as
Although ad-sales results for such MSOs as AT&T
Broadband & Internet Services and Comcast Corp. were generally strong nationwide
throughout 1999, many MSOs were unwilling or unavailable at press time to comment on their
An AT&T Broadband spokeswoman begged off, saying
fourth-quarter and full-year sales data were not fully tabulated. And a Cox Communications
Inc. spokeswoman said the MSO could not comment on ad-sales figures until after
fourth-quarter earnings were reported.
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