The CW Gains 12%-15% In Upfront

The CW, coming off a strong year with higher viewership -- virtually the only broadcast network to do so -- has closed its upfront dealing with substantial dollar volume and mid-single-digit percentage pricing gains.

The CW, the first broadcast network this season to close its upfront dealings, gained 12% to 15% to $460 million, according to media executives. Year-ago estimates were that CW pulled in $400 million during its 2014 upfront deal-making.

The CW posted slightly more than 4% gains in cost-per-thousand viewer (CPM) prices versus a year ago -- roughly the same levels as in 2014, when analysts said it pulled in 3% to 4% hikes over the 2013 upfront market.

“The Flash” is CW’s most-watched show in the history of the network -- with 6.1 million average viewers in the Nielsen live-program-plus-seven days of time-shifting (L7) metric. The show is also the highest-rated in its history with male viewers.



The CW is either flat or higher in viewership on four of the five nights that it airs programming. Because of its five-night-a-week, two-hour-a-night schedule, the network has less inventory to sell than other broadcast networks.

The CW grew 13% to an average 2.22 million total viewers this past season in the Nielsen L7 program ratings, and 13% higher among 18-49 viewers to an average Nielsen 0.9 rating/3 share.

CW has made program gains in shifting to an older audience of 18-49 viewers, as well as adding more male viewers. Years ago it mostly targeted young women ages 18-34.

As it has for a few years now, CW continues to sell special combination-package advertiser deals consisting of traditional TV and digital video platform programming. Traditional TV has been the main driver of revenues again this year -- some 30 new clients signed for this upfront in categories including automotive, financial, and retail.

The broadcast networks started up upfront dealings in earnest earlier this week -- in a much slower-moving market.

Media analysts say Fox has been inking deals at flat to 2% reductions in CPM pricing; high CPM gains have been going to the likes of ABC and CBS, around 3% to 5%. Generally media analysts say pricing for most broadcast networks has been in the 2% to 5% range.

While CW gained higher upfront volume, the overall broadcast upfront marketplace is expected to sink -- down anywhere from 5% to 10%.

Next story loading loading..