Broadcast Scatter Pricing Sinks To Near Parity With Some Upfront Deals

Broadcast network prime-time scatter pricing dropped dramatically in April and in some cases, below that of upfront deals made last summer -- a rare occurrence, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in marketers' media pullbacks.

NBC was down 13% in April from its first-quarter average to $94,070 for a 30-second commercial for its scatter deals -- the near term, month-to-month buying activity of network TV inventory -- according to SQAD, which measures TV costs. By way of comparison, its upfront deals committed to last June/July averaged $89,059.

ABC’s April scatter pricing was down 39% to $101,927 from the first quarter, with its upfront priced deals at $75,786. while CBS was 34% lower to $103,858 for scatter, with its upfront priced deals at $89,357.

Major declines for CBS and ABC can be attributed to the absence of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament and NBA basketball, according to analysts.

In a rare occurrence, SQAD says, some scatter pricing has been below that of upfront deals: “It is possible that some scatter buys on NBC are coming in lower than the prevailing upfront rate.”



In addition, it notes “sharp declining trends from first quarter into second quarter 2020, for CBS and ABC may indicate a similar convergence or transposition of the upfront and scatter market is possible in the coming months.”

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