CABLE TV'S BRAVO PONDERS OFFERING MORE AD TIME: MOVE WOULD PIT ARTS NETWORK MORE DIRECTLY AGAINST LARGER RIVAL A&E

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Bravo, the film and arts cable channel that accepts a limited amount of commercial messages, has broached the idea of carrying a full load of ads in the fourth quarter of 1998.

If Bravo does move forward with the plan, it would pit the network head-to- head against the well-established A&E Network.

Bravo has approached cable operators to see how they would feel about the shift, said insiders at several cable operators. Some agency media executives also have heard about the talks.

EAGER FOR MOVE

"I'd salivate to have a network I could play off of A&E," said one media buyer.

However, a cable network executive, not a direct competitor to Bravo, was less sanguine.

"The last thing we need on the cable network side is more inventory to sell," he said. "I don't see it as such a good thing if their presence in the marketplace is going to knock down [costs per thousand] at A&E, even if it just is a little bit."

BRAVO IN 30 MIL HOMES

Even if Bravo adopts a full commercial load, the network is much smaller than A&E, which would still give A&E a major advantage on Madison Avenue. A&E is in more than 70 million homes, while Bravo is in a little less than 30 million.

A Bravo spokeswoman said the network has no plans to change from its limited sponsorship format.

The current format has Bravo accommodating 10 to 12 advertisers at any one time. A marketer can buy certain programs, but only one advertiser is allowed per show. The advertiser then can run two 30-second spots before the program and two :30s after.

ADS ARE THIRD OF REVENUE

Advertising currently accounts for about one-third of Bravo's revenue.

Curiously, word about Bravo's examination of allowing more advertising comes as its sister network, American Movie Classics, has modified its once-ambitious plans for ads.

That network is now back to considering a much more limited plan of

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