Forecast: 2012 Upfront To $19 Billion

People-watch-TVAnother strong upfront is on tap for TV networks -- but not as powerful as a year ago.

Versus the hefty 10% to 15% percentage spikes of a year ago, Morgan Stanley media analyst Benjamin Swinburne estimates that networks -- broadcast and cable -- will be in the 5% to 10% range when it comes to CPMs, according to reports. 

"We see pricing growth below last year's solid double-digit market and as a result, some networks will hold inventory back for the scatter market," writes Swinburne.

Overall, he guesses the total TV upfront market -- where advertisers buy a season’s worth of commercials before its start -- to be 2.6% higher to $18.85 billion.

As in the past, cable will continue to make the bigger gains; but broadcast networks will also improve. Cable will climb 4.3% to $9.69 billion; broadcast will move up 1% to $9.16 billion.



Which networks will do well? Swinburne says CBS will gain on the broadcast side and Discovery Communications on the cable side. Networks that might suffer include Viacom, primarily due to near 20% declines in ratings at Nickelodeon.

What about digital upfront business? "Of the about $3 billion we expect to be spent in online video in 2012, the majority is likely on professional content, such as TV shows, on sites like Hulu, ESPN and YouTube," writes Swinburne.

He adds: "More broadly, measurement issues and high [ad rates] act as limiting factors in accelerating growth in online video ad spend."

Next story loading loading..