It all ads up to gains for basic cable

Up 22% from previous year

NEW YORK — Basic-cable networks as a category chalked up another strong year for advertising revenues, topping out at a record $5.78 billion for 1997, a 22% gain over the previous year’s total of $4.73 billion.

By comparison, the six broadcast networks inched up by only 3%, going from $14.7 billion in 1996 to $15.2 billion in 1997. For the national advertising time within syndicated TV shows, revenues went up from $2.3 billion in 1996 to $2.5 billion in ’97, a gain of 8%.

The CAB (Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau), which released the figures based on data from Competitive Media Reporting, was particularly boastful because the 22% gain translated into a 2.9% increase in the share of all TV-advertising revenues (covering broadcast, cable and syndication), from 21.7% (1996) to 24.6% (1997).

By contrast, the broadcast networks fell by 2.9% in total ad-revenue share, from 1996’s 67.5% to 1997’s 64.7%. National TV syndication stayed the same, at 10.7% of all ad revenues.

Joe Ostrow, president and CEO of the CAB, predicts that basic-cable ad revenues will grow by another $1 billion in 1998.

“But cable is benefiting from a bunch of new networks that have started up and are flooding the market with new advertising inventory,” says Tim Duncan, executive director of the Advertiser Syndicated TV Assn.

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