Prediction For 2012-2013: A Different Network Winner

Who will win the next TV season? How about a major change? CBS will take the 18-49 crown, according to Brad Adgate, senior VP and corporate research director for Horizon Media.

Adgate says that 19 returning shows and the Super Bowl should finally put the network over the hump.

He adds that Fox’s “American Idol” is down 25%, weakening and and looking for more “creative” changes (according to Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Entertainment). Yes, we hear J. Lo is thinking about moving on.

CBS’ program consistency wins over TV buying executives. And not making any excuses during the upfront, CBS executives talked to reporters about keeping to the basics: such as taking careful preparations to develop shows, even after they are on the air, and protecting new shows with strong lead-ins.

CBS says that a couple of weeks ago it was in a virtual dead-heat with Fox among 18-49 viewers in C3 ratings – commercial ratings plus three days of time shifted viewing. Then Fox inched up one-tenth of a rating point. Still, this was good news for CBS, especially going into next season.



What about ABC and NBC? Not in contention.

Upfront-wise, CBS wants 10%-plus CPM hikes. Considering the rocketing high 12- 17% gains  that broadcast and cable networks pulled in last year, media buyers believe 7- 8% might be more reasonable.

CBS says if it doesn’t get its price, it may hold back some inventory. We’ve heard and seen this one before.

With all its good news, consider that CBS is still broadcast network-based. Unlike other media companies, it doesn’t have big cable network assets or theme parks like Disney or NBC Universal.

To be sure, CBS would tell you the CBS Audience Network is a strong digital video player. But those revenues are still light – as is the case for many content providers – in comparison to other businesses. CBS would also say that growing program license fees and retransmission dollars are changing some of its profile.

After TV, CBS  mostly has radio and outdoor as revenue generators. Says Adgate: “Television is the new medium out of those three.”


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