If you’re considering advertising on television in your local market you’re probably going to check out cable. When you talk to the sales person beware of “packages”. I sold local cable television advertising for ten years and have been buying it for eight years as the owner of Frink Inc. Advertising. I’m a cable television advertising advocate. With that being said I can tell you that the primary motivation for the local cable operator to sell packages is to unload inventory for which there is little demand. The packages are designed to entice you with incredibly low spot rates. The usual technique is to group various networks together and offer them on a Monday-Sunday 6am – 12midnight basis. Recently I saw a cable package billed as targeting men. It grouped nine networks together including National Geographic, Sci-Fi, FX, and TNT among others and offered them on M-F 6am-6pm basis. M-F 6am-6pm which means no spots will run in primetime and no spots will run on the weekend when most of daytime viewing occurs. The spots were $3 each. Wow what a deal right? Not really. How many men watch the Sci-Fi channel or FX at 9 am on Tuesday morning? Sports packages are also popular. College football and basketball packages that might include hundreds of games are merchandised with average spot rates of $50 to $75. These are usually bad deals because they include dozens of Division II games that only girlfriends and relatives will be watching. You don’t need or want to buy a package to make a good cable buy.
How to make a good Cable buy:
1. Clearly define your target prospects
2. Identify what they’re watching
3. Know the cable vendor’s pressure points.
With a little thought you can probably handle #1 on your own. A good cable sales representative might be able to help you with #2. A good sales rep. isn't going to help you with #3. Your best bet is to seek the advice of an independent advertising professional. A good one will save you time and money.