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EVEN TV FEELS THE PINCH: It was a tougher than expected third quarter for prime-time television. According to a report from media agency TargetCast tcm, the cost of a prime-time spot dropped 16 percent during the period, to $84,000. Fox had the highest unit cost, at around $121,000, while NBC, CBS and ABC were in the $70,000 to $80,000 range. Gary Carr, senior vice president, executive director of national broadcast, said average pricing was affected by lower ratings and the economy. “No new broadcast network programs caught on with audiences this summer,” said Carr.
Ad-supported cable programming showed ratings growth, thanks to original scripted series, new reality shows and newsworthy events, such as the Michael Jackson tributes, and TLC scored big with “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” ESPN topped the list, with an average unit cost in prime-time of $27,000 and TNT garnered $17,000; for the top 15 rated cable networks, age 25-54, a prime-time spot rose five percent to more than $10,000. — Amy Wicks