CW Follows NBC, Gives Cash Back To Advertisers

A second network is returning money to advertisers in the face of hefty ratings declines this season. The CW was forced to put the process in motion as ratings sputtered deep into the fall, preventing the network from making good on unfulfilled guarantees going back to last season.

A Bank of America analyst, Jonathan Jacoby, issued a report Friday detailing that "our sources indicate that CW is also offering cash back."

MediaPost has learned the CW actually returned cash before NBC took the unusual step.

By one measure, the CW's ratings are down this season 24% in the target adult 18-to-34 demo (to a 1.3) and 20% among female 18-to-34 viewers.

Like NBC, the CW apparently still owed advertisers makegoods from ratings deficits last season and hoped to deliver them this fall, but the continued ratings declines--perhaps compounded by the shift to the new "commercial ratings" currency--forced it into a deeper hole and led to the change in course.

A representative from the CW said the network is "not pursuing" cash back.

On Friday, Bank of America's Jacoby wrote that CW had joined NBC in offering to return portions of budgets, but that "it is too early to tell if other networks will follow." NBC's decision to give cash back was first reported by Mediaweek.

The CW's decision to give cash back comes despite the network not having to dip into repeats of scripted series yet due to the "Hollywood" writers' strike. In fact, the network has new episodes--including a full season of "Everybody Hates Chris"--in the can and ready to air in January, a representative said.

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