Broadcast Networks Complete Upfront
In the wake of CBS and ABC closing their upfront dealings on Tuesday night, Fox and NBC did the same on Wednesday evening -- all
posting somewhat less-than-anticipated total dollar results.
Fox grabbed just about $2 billion in upfront sales, with NBC a bit behind at $1.8 billion, according to media selling and buying executives. The day before, CBS pulled in some $2.7 billion and ABC around $2.5 billion. CW closed the week before with some $420 million.
All these volume levels were nearly the same as a year ago -- totaling around $9.5 billion, according to media executives. Early estimates were that broadcast networks might see a 2% gain in overall upfront dollar volume for the upcoming 2012-2013 broadcast season.
On average, all networks sold somewhat less than a year ago -- generally around 75% to 78% of their inventory supplies. According to executives, Fox sold 80%.
CBS claimed some top pricing gains -- the cost-per-thousand viewers for marketers (CPM)-- around 9% over last year's rates. Fox was at 8% to 9%; ABC was a bit lower at 7% to 7.5%; and NBC came in around 6% to 7%. These were for rates pegged to adult 18-49 viewers. CW also pulled 7% gains for their young adult viewers -- in particular women 18-34.
A year ago, a much stronger upfront marketplace offered up substantial 10% to 17% gains on CPMs.
There was no indication where the biggest automotive marketer -- General Motors -- was in this process. Media buyers' rumors were rampant that GM was looking for dramatic double-digit pricing declines versus a year ago -- and that GM was sitting on the sidelines early on in the upfront deal-making.
Many top-ten cable networks also completed a large proportion of their upfront sales for many media agencies. Media buyers say big networks like USA Network grabbed near 9% price hikes in the cost-per-thousand viewers, with its strong competitors TNT and TBS getting 8% gains.
None of the networks' respective representatives commented about the upfront negotiations.