Broadcast TV's Woes = Upside For Cable

Broadcast TV ratings are down, but it’s more expensive than ever for advertisers to buy time there. That’s great news for cable tv networks, who are seeing ad dollars migrate away from broadcast and into their pockets.

Anheuser-Busch marketing exec Tony Ponturo says the company is expanding its spending on cable, while decreasing TV spending overall. A-B says it’s planning to spend across 35 cable channels in 2008, vs 16 a decade ago. At the same time, its cutting its TV spend from 75% of its ad budget five years ago to 59% today.

But as Goldman Sachs points out, when money leaves broadcast TV, it doesn’t get distributed equally across the cable dial. Former broadcast dollars are generally going to big, broad cable networks — think USA, TNT, TBS — owned by the likes of News Corp., Discovery and Time Warner and NBC U. But Viacom’s properties are like MTV, BET, CMT, etc, are considered more “niche”, so the overflow isn’t coming their way.

Related: Survey: TV Ads Bumming Out Advertisers

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