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Ad Man: Broadcast TV Still Matters

0428 ESPRESSO Hamm The CEO of Interpublic Group, one of the big four global advertising holding companies, said Monday that the upfronts will be "challenging" for the networks, but not devastating. "Companies are looking very carefully at how they spend their dollars," Roth told the Fox Business Network. "Traditional media, particularly the networks with respect to the upfront, is still a very important component of [client] marketing dollars. The issue is how you spend it, and how much you pay for it."

Translation: The prices that major advertisers such as WalMart, Home Depot, and MillerCoors--all IPG clients--spend on air time will be less than in years past, but there won't be the wholesale collapse of the traditional TV model that some have predicted. This is good news for actors, because work on ad-supported, over-the-air networks is still the most lucrative.

Still, if one of the captains of this particular industry has to go on television to say that broadcast TV still matters, might that not indicate that serious change is already afoot? Just wondering ...

(Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt [above] have nothing to do with this story, other than that Hamm is the star of Mad Men and, well, we like to pimp off his and the show's cool whenever possible. The irony that Mad Men runs on basic cable, and not on network TV, is not lost on us either; we simply choose not to care. ) 

Shares of Interpublic were trading higher today after the company reported losses that were not as steep as some had feared. Interpublic, along with WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis, is one of the four largest ad agencies in the world. From the AP report: "In the first quarter, Interpublic lost $73.9 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $69.7 million, or 15 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue came to $1.33 billion, down nearly 11 percent from $1.49 billion in the prior year."

Other bellwether reports on the state of ad-supported TV will emerge later in the week, when Time Warner and Viacom report their first-quarter earnings. Of particular interest are the ad sales on basic cable networks such as CNN, TNT, and TBS (TW), as well as MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central (Viacom). Reports indicate basic cable networks are doing better than their older siblings.

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