US Cable networks steal a march over b'cast counterparts in ad efficacy

MUMBAI: In an increasingly fragmented and cluttered television environment in America, advertisers are constantly seeking the most effective way to mamise the bang for their buck. If a recent study is any indication then advertisers would do well to look increasingly at cable networks.

Ads work better on cable than on broadcast network television in the US. There is a marked difference in attitudes toward advertising on broadcast and cable networks. These findings are contained in a study which had been commissioned by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau in the US.


Conducted by Knowledge Networks/SRI the findings contradict long-held notions of TV viewing. How People Use TV 2004 compares broadcast and cable viewer patterns, preferences, and responses to advertising on the telly. The presentation was made at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) convention.

Viewer perception: Ads work better on cable. Forty three of per cent viewers said that they were inclined to buy products from advertisers on cable networks, whereas 36 per cent would buy a broadcast advertiser's brand. Similarly striking is the difference in perceived clutter. One-third of adults 18-49 said the volume of ads on broadcast networks detract from their enjoyment of programming, compared to 23 per cent for cable shows.

Viewer perception: More bad news for NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox. Viewers see cable as being more central to their lives. From how networks fit their lifestyles to what programming dominates water-cooler conversations, the majority of viewers cite ad-supported cable channels over broadcast networks. For example 57 per cent of viewers said cable networks consistently showed the best programmes. A meagre 19 per cent took up for broadcast networks.

Primetime isn't the same for all demos. For instance, men 18-34 tune in from 10 pm to 1 am. Thus a lot of the shows that they watch are not considered primetime by advertisers.

All exposure is not created equal. The basic message of the study is that at a time when 50 per cent of American homes have three or more televisions and 78 per cent of viewers are

doing something else while watching TV, advertisers need to be airing their commercials on the networks and programmes that get people's attention.

KN/SRI provides regular reports and analysis on consumers' use and ownership of media and technology. The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau represents almost all of America's ad-supported cable networks and system operators that serve more than 90 per cent of all US cable subscribers.

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