Barclays Capital analyst Anthony J. DiClemente says that broadcasting networks are looking good coming out of the 2009-2010 chute, enough that it may translate into upside for Q4 2009. The news is particularly good for ratings champs thus far Fox and CBS.
Using the C+3 measuring standard (which adds in recorded viewing), Fox’s audience has grown 8.5% and CBS is up 5.5%. NBC, at -3.4%, and ABC, at -3.5%, haven’t fared so well, but their losses are modest.
The result has been pricing power – a reported 10%+ gain in CPM over what networks were getting during the upfront. And the slow upfront has left plenty of inventory on the shelves with which to take advantage of a new higher-priced rate card.
A number of ad categories are strong — Barclays mentions “movies, electronics, retailers, and health and beauty.” And also playing into the situation in a positive way are recession-inspired belt-tightening plus increased effectiveness of online revenue streams.
RBR-TVBR observation: It is heartening to see that the networks can still put together a program lineup that rivals anything a single basic cable channel can come up with. We wonder about another factor – is the economy helping the broadcast nets? Polling suggests that some citizens adversely affected by the economy are scaling back their monthly cable subscription or discontinuing it entirely. If that is true, it suggest that competition from cable services may return as consumers’ financial picture stabilizes and they upgrade back to prior levels of service. Even if that is true, though, the current period will give broadcasters a chance to show consumers that it is worthwhile to check out what the networks are offering, and that maybe it’s so good that they can make their cable savings a permanent thing.