Broadcast, Cable Upfront Spending Drops Again

Both broadcast and cable TV upfront advertising spending continues to suffer -- broadcast TV now down for the third year in a row, with cable revenues now lower for the second year in a row.

In the recently concluded upfront TV ad marketplace for the 2015-2016 TV season, broadcast TV networks' prime-time spending sank 3.7% to $8.36 billion, with cable TV networks down 2.3% to $9.45 billion, according to estimates from media consulting company Media Dynamics.

Total prime-time dollars were down 3.0% to $17.8 billion.

Both broadcast and cable networks did witness slight increases in the cost per thousand viewers (CPMs) of adults 18 years and older. Broadcast TV networks were up 4.0% on average in prime-time CPMs to $24.40, while cable TV networks grew 4.4% to $13.34.



Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics, stated: “The broadcast networks have now lost ad revenues for three consecutive upfronts, which is something we haven’t seen before. And they are down a sobering 11% since the 2012-2013 season.”

Media Dynamics says broadcast networks increased CPMs by 61% over the past 10 years, with cable up 66%.

The upfront TV advertising marketplace, which takes place in the summer, is when major TV marketers purchase an estimated 70% of their annual commercial inventory before the TV season starts, and anywhere from 50% to 60% of cable TV inventory.

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