Upfront Blues: Broadcast, Cable TV Ad Rev Forecast To Sink 6%

Television's upfront market will take a turn backwards this season.
A new estimate says that with most of the deal-making completed, total television upfront prime-time advertising revenue for broadcast and cable networks will sink 6% to $18.1 billion from the $19.3 billion tally in 2013, per Media Dynamics.

Broadcast upfront revenues are estimated to drop 7.7% to $8.45 billion from the $9.15 billion level in 2013. Cable TV upfront revenues look to retreat 4.7% to $9.68 billion from $10.16 billion.

While broadcast networks have seen steady declines for the last two upfront selling periods, this season will be the first decline for cable since it dropped to $6.92 billion in the 2009 upfront period (for the 2009-2010 season) from its $7.6 billion level in 2008 (the 2008-2009 period).

In 2009, the TV ad revenue declines were part of the overall U.S. economic collapse that hit all businesses during the Great Recession in 2009. In the midst of the recessionary period in 2009, total TV upfront revenues were down sharply -- off 14% -- with the cost per thousand viewers down 4%.

Some of that upfront market was also affected to a major degree by TV networks withholding much more inventory that year for sale in the following scatter markets -- in the hopes the economy would improve



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