Strong TV Upfront Gains, Revenues Hit $19.7B

TV’s upfront advertising market for prime time over-delivered -- for both broadcast and cable networks -- with 6% more revenue versus the year before, according to a new estimate.

Total TV upfront ad revenues hit $19.7 billion -- $10.6 billion for cable networks (up 7.6%) and $9.1 billion for broadcast networks (4.1% higher), according to Media Dynamics, a media consultancy.

(Last year's upfront ad-selling season witnessed a 4.6% revenue hike to $18.6 billion -- with cable gaining 4.5% and broadcast networks, up 4.7%.)

In addition, broadcast networks witnessed an 8% rise in the cost per thousand prime-time adult viewers -- averaging $29.01 -- and a 9.1% hike for cable networks to $15.94.

Many media prognosticators anticipated a flat or declining market this year.

TV ad-selling network executives believe the rise is partly attributable to ongoing digital media concerns — including viewability, accountability and fraud. These are some of the same reasons that delivered high results a year ago.

One key element this time around is digital media ad growth. TV network groups have talked up 20% to 40% gains or more.

Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics, stated: “The networks will probably sell $2.6 [billion] to $2.7 [billion] in digital time next season.”

He also noted TV networks did more package selling of their broadcast and cable networks, as well as increased bundling of late night with prime-time programming.

Papazian says upfront ad revenue included " 'advanced targeting' buys, mostly on cable channels."

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