The CW Strikes First: Strong Upfront Deals, Double-Digit Price Hikes

A solid upfront ad market for The CW pushed faster than normal deal-making over a year ago -- with the network grabbing low double-digit percentage ad-pricing gains.

Media executives say the mini-broadcast network pulled in about 15% more advertising upfront dollar volume versus a year ago, to an estimated $560 million to $630 million.

The network is near a 80% sell-out level, virtually completing its upfront deal process with advertisers. This makes the CW the first broadcast network to finish its key advertising business for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. A CW spokeswoman would not comment about upfront advertising activities. 

The network inked deals with 10% to 15% gains on the cost per thousand viewer [CPM] prices -- much higher than last year’s 3% to 4% hikes.



A key factor for the CW was adding a sixth night on Sunday, with strong interest from upfront TV marketers for new shows, including “Black Lightning” and “Charmed.”

For the eighth year now, The CW’s upfront deals with marketers are package deals -- a combination of linear TV advertising placements and digital advertising of its programming on online platforms.

Media analysts' expectations for the overall upfront advertising marketplace are a 3% to 4% hike in volume, similar to what occurred a year ago. CPM increases for the major broadcast network are expected to range from mid-single-digit percentage hikes to low double-digit gains.

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