CBS Completes Upfront Sales, Matches Last Year's Revenue

CBS closed in on completing its upfront dealings yesterday--grabbing nearly $2.3 billion, virtually the same revenue level as a year ago, according to media buying and selling executives.

CBS averaged somewhere from flat to 1 percent price increases in cost-per-thousand viewers (CPMs), according to media buying and selling executives. CBS did get some 2 percent increases from certain advertisers.

A number of media executives insist that CBS did not write any "negative" deals--although other executives say this wasn't the case. Some executives say this "upfront math" depends on how each side does its specific accounting for individual deals.

CBS sold off about 71 percent to 72 percent of its prime-time inventory--which is about par for the course for most broadcast networks this year. NBC sold some 71 percent of its inventory in getting to $1.9 billion for this upfront process (which includes anywhere from $250 million to $300 million for "Sunday Night Football." A CBS spokesman had no comment about the network's upfront sales results.

With CBS over and done with, ABC will be the last of the broadcast networks to finish its upfront activities--which could happen late today. It's expected that ABC could reach $2.05 billion to $2.2 billion with CPM increases in the 2 percent to 3 percent range--close to the increases of Fox, which grabbed an overall $1.8 billion in volume. Fox completed its upfront sales process last week.

Newcomer CW took in $650 million--a number that came in about as expected, according to media buying executives.

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