Fox Inks Upfront Hikes In 3% Range

Following other broadcast networks, Fox has virtually concluded its upfront advertising deal-making, according to media executives, at expected low single-digit percentage price gains.

Within the last week and a half, the other four English-language broadcast networks also completed their respective upfront advertising deals.

Fox inked deals with price increases -- the cost per thousand viewers (CPMs) -- in the 2.5% to 3.5% range, lower than the 5% or so average obtained by the other broadcast networks, and lower than what Fox gained a year ago, according to media executives close to the company.

Fox also registered lower overall upfront dollar volume -- down by a couple of percentage points -- versus its $1.8 billion upfront take a year ago. Fox witnessed declining overall viewership this season in the key 18-49 demographic group for its regular prime-time series.

Fox has some company -- and not only with lower broadcast network viewership. Estimates are that the overall upfront revenue from five-network English-language broadcast networks could be down 5% or so this year from the $9.2 billion level achieved a year ago.

Versus other networks, however, Fox sold a typical percentage of its TV commercial inventory -- around 75% to 80% -- in the upfront market. Executives believe some networks are holding onto advertising inventory in the hopes of selling it for higher prices during the broadcast season.

A Fox spokesperson had no comment.

Media-buying executives also believe Fox did a sizable piece of upfront transactions with multiple agencies linked to the C7 guarantee metric --- the average commercial ratings plus seven days of time shifted viewing -- which would mean slightly more money for networks.

Still, executives believe most of the national TV upfront business conducted in this year’s upfront market is attached to the C3 metric -- the average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted data, the virtual industry standard since 2007.

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