In 2012, cable TV is set to take in a greater share of advertising dollars than network TV will. In fact, it’s probably already happened.This chart (below), which Nielsen prepared at B.I.’s request, shows that in 2011 cable and network TV took in almost exactly the same amount, $21 billion of media spending. (Networks sold just $66 million more in advertising than cable did.)
Growth at the networks has stalled or is in decline, whereas cable grew throughout the recession.
The trend has been a long time coming (many thought last year would be when the ice finally broke) but still, it’s historic. It’s a massive growth, and shift, in dollars and advertisers’ priorities.
Of course, network TV is still sharing its ad dollars between ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW; whereas cable’s dollars are spread among hundreds of different brands. Nonetheless, for the first time in U.S. history the phrase “television business” now applies more aptly to cable than it does to the legacy broadcast nets.
Here’s Nielsen’s data:
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