Even broadcast TV, which has been losing overall market share to cable competitors for years, is showing some resilience. CBS Corp. said this week its local broadcast unit saw a 17 percent increase in ad sales.
Last week, Comcast Corp. said revenue from local ads shown on its cable channels grew 23 percent during the quarter.
Still, even as the rising tide lifts overall TV ad spending, this week also came with reminders that advertising can be an unstable source of revenue in a downturn.
Along with ad revenue, Viacom’s cable channels get a second stream of money from fees that it charges cable providers. That second leg _ one that broadcasters haven’t traditionally enjoyed _ has helped soften the blow of the recession. While ad rates fluctuate, fees are locked in by multiyear contracts.
Looking to sure up their business models, CBS and other broadcasters have been pushing to tap fees from cable and satellite TV providers over the past few years as well. CBS Chief Les Moonves has been leading the charge on that front, and the company announced a 10-year deal this week to lock in fees from Comcast, the biggest U.S. cable provider.
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