Fox Takes $1.8 Billion In Upfront, Scores Volume And CPM Gains

Fox Corp. is the latest TV network group to close its upfront advertising negotiations with strong pricing increases -- the cost of a thousand viewers (CPMs) -- up 11% to 12% over a year ago.

Fox scored upfront dollar volume gains of around 5% over last year to hit $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, according to media executives.

Other broadcast networks that finished their upfronts have seen 1% to 3% gains in volume with slightly higher pricing gains. CBS, The CW, WarnerMedia (Turner networks), Hallmark channels, and Univision have all completed negotiations.

Fox is said to have scored solid results with telecommunications, financial services, automobiles and streaming services marketers -- mostly due to live programming, especially from sports.

Big changes for Fox in recent years have added more live sports programming — especially last year’s exclusive NFL “Thursday Night Football” package. Fox looks to add more live sports programming — as well as live entertainment programming, such as the Emmys and “Teen Choice Awards.”

Live programming now demands premium prices, more than other non-live entertainment shows. This coming season, it's the Friday night schedule. Fox will add high-viewing World Wrestling Entertainment programming. WWE is sold under the Fox Sports business unit.

Typically, around 70% of all broadcast TV network advertising inventory is sold during the upfront revenue sales period. Factoring in all Fox network advertising for the full 2019 calendar year, MoffettNathanson Research — according to a March projection — estimated ad revenue would rise 8% to $2.5 billion.

A Fox representative had no comment about the upfront.

Among other Fox cablers, Fox News Channel posted mid-single-digit percentage CPM gains, with overall flat volume versus a year ago. Fox Sports 1 had strong demand from advertisers for Major League Baseball and college-football programming.

This was the first upfront for the new Fox Corp. under Marianne Gambelli, president of advertising sales. Gambelli is in charge of all ad sales for the company's networks and platforms.

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