CBS Finishes Upfront Deals, Pulls In Low Double-Digit Pricing, Overall Volume Gains

CBS did well during this upfront period -- even without NFL’s big “Thursday Night Football” -- and has nearly completed its deal-making with sturdy price gains.

Media-buying executives say the network pulled in “high single to low double digit price” hikes on its cost-per-thousand viewer prices (CPMs).

CBS did well for all dayparts including prime time, daytime, and late night. Strong categories include pharmaceutical, financial services, retail, package goods and insurance.

There wasn’t much indication of how CBS prime-time broadcast inventory fared. But sources say that when looking at all dayparts, CBS witnessed higher volume, which also included digital media sales.

For the last couple of years, CBS broadcast prime-time inventory revenue hovered around $2.5 billion. A CBS spokeswoman declined to comment about upfront deal-making.

CBS also did well selling its Sunday afternoon NFL programming and some inventory for the Super Bowl in February 2019 during this upfront selling period.

Over the last four seasons, CBS also had the prime-time “Thursday Night Football” package, shared with cable network NFL Network, which simulcast the series.

For the last two seasons, CBS shared the broadcast portion of the deal with NBC -- with a total price tag of $450 million a year. Both networks reportedly lost money, with each making around $130 million to $150 million in ad sales, according to media buyers. Still, the networks used the highly rated series to promote other prime-time content.

For the next four seasons, Fox will have the broadcast network rights for the “Thursday Night Football” package -- a multi-year deal from 2018-2022 for around $550 million a season.

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