2 Ways to Include Cable in Your Local Media Campaign

local media cable strategy

To deliver the proper audience for a local media buy, you must determine whether using cable zones or the interconnect is the better choice.

As with any advertising decision, you need to have a firm grasp of what you’re trying to accomplish and whom you’re trying to reach with your message.  It’s important to know and understand your options when placing local cable schedules.

There are key advantages and notable differences between zoned cable and its much larger counterpart, the cable interconnect.

Zoned Cable

When cable providers refer to “zones,” they are simply referring to defined geographical areas within the DMA (Designated Market Area). These zones are made up of specific counties, towns and neighborhoods, driven down all the way to zip codes.

Zoned cable offers a distinct advantage if your need is localized, both in cost and intent. Are you targeting a specific neighborhood? Do you only want to reach households on the eastern side of the city? Are you promoting a special event at only one location?

Targeting a particular zone or group of zones can be cost-efficient, eliminating the cost of superfluous households. Only pay for what you need.

Cable Interconnect

The interconnect links all cable systems and their zones, in essence, covering all the Cable Households within the DMA.

Whereas a “zone buy” is ideal for targeted households and areas, buying the Interconnect is the best option for reaching all Cable subscribers in the DMA.

Are you trying to reach new customers? Do you have multiple locations throughout the city?

Buying the interconnect is the best way to reach a mass cable audience. It is also a strong complement to a broadcast buy.

Keep in mind, cable providers have many research tools at their fingertips. Take advantage of their knowledge and resources to make informed decisions. Compare the costs for a zone buy versus using an interconnect.

You can determine what percentage of overall households are in your desired zone(s). This will allow you to determine if the costs are in line.
Making the best choice for your business can be as simple as requesting a map of the interconnect and zones, in the DMA, from your cable provider. More importantly, being aware of the advantages and differences of purchasing cable in a zone capacity or via an interconnect can be the key to successfully navigating a local cable buy.

Leslie Kill

About Leslie Kill

Leslie is an Associate Media Director at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. She has been entrenched in media for a little over 10 years, allowing her the privilege to work with clients and in markets big, small and many places in between.


  1. Brian Florko says:

    A third way would be looking at the networks- especially if you have a specific or niche demographic you are targeting. For instance- conservatives (Fox News), females (Lifetime, Hallmark, Oxygen), kids/moms- (Nickelodeon, ABC Family) etc… IMO (disclaimer- I’m a cable rep) One of the strengths of broadcast is also one of its drawbacks. The only way on broadcast to efficiently target a specific demo is by program and even then most of the broadcast networks programming is made to appeal to the widest possible audience. Cable, given the breadth and depth of networks and programming can and does efficiently target specific and niche customers. aka Wedding vendor- TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, etc

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