August 14, 2012 at 4:53 PM CDT - Updated June 28 at 3:42 AM
Pros - With hundreds of niche channels and multiple headends within a market, Cable allows an advertiser to target audiences with a specific taste in programming in a specific geography. Schedules are typically sold as broad daypart rotators, making buys easy. Cable has a large inventory of spot time available because of its broad array of channels, so spots are typically very cheap and sold in bulk.
Cons - Cable's greatest strength for viewers is its greatest weakness for advertisers. Choice. With hundreds of channels to choose from, cable viewing suffers from fragmentation. Cable typically boasts a substantial subscriber base, but those subscribers are spread out among hundreds of channels. To reach all of them, an advertiser would have to buy every single channel, which would become prohibitively expensive. Additionally, in most markets the channels with the highest viewing on cable are the local broadcast network affiliates, which run their own commercials. Premium channels such as HBO, Showtime, and Starz are commercial free. According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in June 2011 only 45.5% of homes nationwide have cable, in many markets that number is substantially lower.