CBS, NBC Ink Upfront Deals In Low Double Digits

TV upfront selling is nearly wrapping up for some networks -- with CBS and NBC virtually done, and others closing in as well.

Media executives say CBS is up 3% in upfront dollars versus a year ago, with average pricing for prime-time non-sports programming posting low double-digit percentage increases -- 10% to 12% -- in the cost per thousand viewers [CPMs].

CBS has also transitioned to more C7 deals from C3 deals for this upfront period -- the average commercial minute rating plus seven (or three) days of time-shifted viewing. CBS also benefited from additional video-on-demand (VOD) advertising sales this upfront period.

Strong upfront advertising categories include retail, telecommunications, financial and pharmaceuticals. A CBS spokesperson had no comment on upfront activity.



Media executives also says NBC has concluded the majority of its upfront deals -- for both broadcast and cable. Like CBS, NBC has also been inking deals at low double-digit CPM gains. Fox is more than halfway done, getting around 8.5% to 12% CPM hikes, according to executives.

NBCUniversal’s CEO Steve Burke said at a recent industry event a week and half ago: “What we found was that, on a CPM basis, NBC was getting 20% less than Fox or CBS.”

He adds: “For the same number of eyeballs, we would get 20% less, and that happens when you are consistently under-performing. Once you get to be No. 1, you can eat away at that — and we're seeing that with the upfront right now.”

An NBC spokesperson had no comment on Monday concerning the upfront market.

Late-night program pricing for all broadcast network shows continues to score even better results -- with mid-level double-digit percentage pricing hikes.

Analysts believe overall high upfront pricing might encourage some media agencies and TV advertisers to hold back on upfront spending on some networks -- delaying deals in order to spend the quarter-by-quarter scatter market periods, possibly spending a small portion on new programmatic TV platforms.

CBS sister company Viacom concluded its upfront deals about a week and a half ago -- with mid-single-digit percentage dollar upfront volume gains and mid-to-high single-digit percentage CPM price increases.

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