CBS Will Hold Out For Higher Upfront Pricing

CBS says the upfront ad process is still in its early stages. But should the network not get what it believes is “premium pricing,” it will wait.

“It’s still too early for business to break,” says Joe Ianniello, executive vice president and CFO  for CBS Corp, speaking at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Telecom & Media Conference in London. “Obviously, we are going to hold out for what we deserve to be premium pricing. The market hasn’t broken yet. But I would expect us to lead the market.”

Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, previously said the network was looking to secure double-digit-percentage price increases.

Many industry segments expect the broadcast networks to get mid-single-digit price gains this year -- with CBS getting the better pricing overall. CBS has shown growth in all viewer demographics for the just-completed TV season.

Ianniello would not discuss the recent announcement by General Motors not to advertise in the upcoming Super Bowl, which CBS will air in February 2013. GM has been a major supporter of the event -- although skipping the Super Bowl recently, this coming after the difficult 2009 recession.



Ianniello says CBS’ inventory in the game is more than 50% sold so far. Recent history shows the Super Bowl itself typically pulls in around $250 million in ad revenue for the broadcast network airing the big TV event. 

Concerning TV stations, Ianniello expects CBS to continue to see single-digit percentage revenue gains for its TV stations in the current and coming months. But come October -- when the political advertising really ramps up -- those numbers could rise dramatically.

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