US Cable Upfront Set to Emulate Networks’ Bonanza

30 July 2002

An ongoing boom in cable TV ad inventory attracted between $4.4 billion (€4.49bn; £2.82bn) and $4.8bn in this year's upfront - depending on which media executive’s view is solicited.

There is unanimity, however, that cable is in a good inventory position for fourth-quarter scatter. Says Fox Cable Networks’ executive vp of ad sales Bruce Lefkowitz: “It is too soon to tell, but I think [scatter] will be solid enough to put pricing ahead of the upfront.”

Mark Lazarus, president, ad sales for Turner Sports and Entertainment Networks, agrees, predicting that broadcast inventory “will probably be pretty expensive; therefore there will be an opportunity for some of the broader cable networks to step in.”

On the opposite side of the negotiating table, the views are broadly similar. OMD director of US national TV buying Chris Geraci forecasts the total will break out at $4.4bn, while Tim Spengler, executive vp/director of national broadcast for Initiative Media North America declined to switch on his psychic calculator but observed: “A lot of budgets were up. Turner, Lifetime, USA and lots of little networks wrote more money.”

According to Kagan World Media analysts, the cable marketplace will rake in around $4.6bn – with a bullish qualification that the dollars could be boosted to $4.8 billion by a handful of deals still under negotiation by some smaller networks.

Data sourced from: (USA); additional content by WARC staff