A new report from Nielsen shows that cable TV is now almost getting as much in ad revenue as the networks. In 2011, cable TV networks got $21 billion from ads, while the networks got $21.1 billion. This means that for all practical purposes, cable TV has caught up with the networks, at least in terms of ad revenue. The figures are for English language cable TV channels and networks only.
In the growing Spanish language, the networks are still far ahead of their cable competitors. The Spanish networks got $3.7 billion from ads while the Spanish cable channels got only $513.3 million.
The reasons for cable TV growth are attributed to more original programming, higher quality of the TV shows and niche shows for niche audiences. But the 100+ cable TV channels are still small fish individually compared to the five networks in terms of getting a huge chunk of the ad market.
Nielsen Says Cable TV Matches Network TV in Ad Revenue by Harrison Barnes