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THE DARK SIDE OF CABLE TV ADVERTISING

December 26, 2012

Many local cable company sales people are busy selling packages at this time of year. Often they offer “$5 a Holler” spots if you buy 100s of them over several months. Some of these packages are great buys. But often they sell ROS (Run of Schedule or Run of Station) spots that you have no control on when and where they air.

Obviously, with more than 200+ channel offerings, not all cable channels have the same number of viewers. But the difference from top-rated channels (like ESPN or Fox) to other channels can be dramatic. For example, the art TV channel Ovation reaches 51 million homes out of the “universe” of nearly 100 million U.S. households that pay for television. But only 27,000 households on average tuned into Ovation between January and November 2012, according to Nielsen data. Current TV, whose founders include former Vice President Al Gore, reaches even fewer people, 22,000 households between January and November. Other low performers: Hallmark Movie Channel, IFC and WE TV.

Go ahead and wheel and deal, but make sure you have some control on times and channels your spot will run. Also request rating numbers for the channels you are going to be on, so you can run a CPM cost study. If you don’t know what CPM stands for, email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) and I will provide a free reprint of the section of my book that explains how to run a cost study for your TV efforts.

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