CAB predicts rise despite b'cast hype

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) on Tuesday released its prediction that primetime viewership of basic cable will rise several percentage points during the first six months of 1998 from the same period in 1997.

CAB forecasts average daily U.S. household delivery of 21.2 million homes – a boost of nearly 2 million from ’97 – as well as an average rating climb to 21.6 (a 1.7 point gain) and increase in share to nearly 37% of the overall prime viewing pie.

Jonathan Sims, VP of research for CBS, based the estimates on the historical correlation between basic cable’s performance during the fourth quarter last year and how it fares for the remainder of the TV season. The projections are also based on CAB analysis of Nielsen data.

Sims added, “During the opening months of the season, cable scored major viewership increases despite all of the broadcast networks’ premieres and special programming. So it’s a pretty safe bet that cable’s audience growth will continue unabated as the broadcast hoopla wears off.”

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