Big Four Active In Upfront Market
CBS, which hopes to leverage its stable schedule to land market-topping price increases, began inking upfront commitments late last week, a network representative said. By Friday, all four major networks had entered the deal-making stage.
Fox was said to be getting CPM bumps in the high single-digit range in its early deals. CBS has indicated it hopes to be the leader in a market that could be cooler after a temperate scatter market might tempt buyers to hold money back. Broadcasting & Cable reported that CBS had begun inking deals Friday.
Once the broadcast market wraps and more attention is paid to cable, a key question is how successful USA will be in narrowing the price gap with competitors TNT and TBS. Sources said the Turner networks command CPMs at least 25% higher.
USA was able to make up some ground last year as it continues to expand its original programming. The USA matter is made more intriguing with former Turner executive Linda Yaccarino heading cable sales at NBCUniversal.
The revenue potential in narrowing the gap at USA was important enough that Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett asked Comcast CEO Brian Roberts about it Friday. Roberts focused his answer more on how USA can gain increases its affiliate fees.
Last year’s cable upfront saw a 16% increase in volume and the market is not expected to yield anywhere near that type of jump this time. With $9.29 billion in commitments, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau said cable topped the leading broadcasters for the first time in 2011.