ABC, running on the heels of broadcast leader Fox, has been making media agreements with CPM increases in the 9% to 10% range, according to media agency executives.
"ABC will look good for marketers -- especially when CBS comes out with its pricing," said one executive. Many executives expect CBS to be more aggressive, hoping to close deals in the higher range -- 12% or more, in regard to CPM increases.
TV network spokespeople would not comment about any upfront activities.
In a earnings conference call on May 3, Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp., hinted that some deals -- early upfront deals -- have already been struck by the network: "There have been a couple which my head of sales told me I can't talk about, so I won't. But needless to say, any deal that we would have taken in April would be at a very, very good number, which gives me great confidence heading into the upfront."
Executives also note that CW has been making some deals -- mostly stirred because of movie company marketers, which like Fox, is driven by young-targeted viewership. Media executives say about 80% of all TV upfront media budgets -- with all networks -- have been registered. The bulk of the upfront deal-making should be concluded this week.
Fox -- as its usual strategy -- scored heavily with movie companies and automotive marketers late last week to get the market moving, according to media-buying executives. Fox has less prime-time inventory than other networks, which sometimes makes for valuable inventory for key marketers. Estimates are that Fox has closed its deals at a average of 11% increases on the cost per thousand viewers [CPM].
Fox has been pushing for media agencies to take makegood inventory for its shows in connection with its upfront deals, especially for the new fourth-quarter "American Idol"-like show, "The X Factor." Some rough estimates from media agencies have pegged the show to potentially grab a 5 rating among adults 18-49.
Fox had already been making deals linking its traditional TV deals with digital video platforms during last season's scatter marketplace.
If a TV show fails to hit its rating guarantee, some digital video makegood inventory -- like that which runs on Hulu -- is offered to marketers. Executives says all this frees up Fox to sell traditional TV inventory in the upcoming scatter market periods at continued big-price hikes.