Broadcast Upfront Breaks, Strong Double-Digit Gains Reported

TV’s upfront advertising market is finally moving in earnest -- with sturdy double-digit percentage pricing increases for the cost per thousand (CPM) viewers, higher than early estimates.

ABC, CBS, and NBC are commanding the highest price gains -- around 9% to 12%, according to media-buying and selling executives, in early deal-making.

Fox is on the low end of price increases among the four major networks -- getting high single-digit 7% to 10% increases -- largely because Fox has had the highest 18-49 CPMs due to its lead position among 18-49 viewers for many years.

Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC had no comment. 

Early estimates were that the national TV upfront market could see 6% to 8% price increases for prime-time programming.

All this has been spurred by a more promising economy and by a sharply higher current TV advertising market -- the scatter market, where advertisers make near-term, quarter-by-quarter TV network buys. 

Standard Media Index recently said that national TV scatter market spending from October through April has been up 20% versus the same period a year ago, and 40% higher just for broadcast networks.

At the end of the 2015-2016 TV season, media consulting company Media Dynamics said broadcast TV networks averaged prime-time CPMs of $24.40 when it came to viewers 18 years and up -- up 4.0% versus the upfront the year before. Cable TV networks grew 4.4% to an average $13.34 CPM.

Media executives say this year’s initial TV upfront deal-making offers started with some eye-popping numbers -- including some 16% CPM increases, which many assumed would be negotiated down to lower levels.

In terms of overall dollars, the 2016-2017 upfront ad market is poised to be sharply higher versus the TV upfront of a year ago -- overall upfront dollar volume has been estimated to climb anywhere from 3% to 4% for the 2016-2017 market for both cable and broadcast. 

Last year’s upfront market witnessed weak pricing increases of 3% to 5%. Overall, national TV upfront revenue declined versus the 2014-2015 upfront market -- to some $8.36 billion for broadcast networks and $9.45 billion for cable TV networks, according to Media Dynamics.

The summer upfront ad sales period is where TV advertisers commit/buy 75% of their TV advertising budgets for the upcoming season.

1 comment about "Broadcast Upfront Breaks, Strong Double-Digit Gains Reported".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, June 20, 2016 at 10:23 a.m.

    Yep, it's going about as we predicted a month or so ago. It will be interesting to see how much GRP inventory the broadcast networks sell in this year's upfront. More on this--- soon.

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