Linear TV Prime-Time Upfront Shrinks 5%, CTV Expands 31%

Continuing to show TV weakness, this year’s linear TV prime-time upfront advertising market is down 5% to a combined broadcast and cable network revenue of$19.1 billion, according to estimates from Media Dynamics.

At the same time, streaming platforms -- from those TV network-owned companies -- have seen a sharp 31% increase to $8.03 billion.

"What we are witnessing is both forms of TV content access — linear and streaming — coming together in the thinking of major national TV advertisers and their time buyers,” says Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics. 

Papazian adds:” As a result, the combined linear and streaming upfront saw streaming's gains wipe out all of linear's losses.”

Overall, this brings the total linear TV/streaming upfront total for the 2023-2024 TV upfront marketplace to a 3% improvement, to $27.1 billion.

Cable TV networks took the biggest hit for linear TV -- down 7% in total upfront revenue volume to $9.5 billion -- while broadcast TV slipped 3% to $9.6 billion.

Linear TV also witnessed a rare decline in average cost-per-thousand viewer prices (CPMs) down 3% to $48.04 -- this for adult viewers 18 years and older for 30-second commercials. Cable TV networks were now down 5% to a $22.15 CPM. Streaming CPMs averaged $38.50.

In addition, Media Dynamics says other daypart upfront deals -- early AM, daytime, and early and late evening programming-- are estimated to be between $10 billion and $12 billion. 

All in, for the upfront—including national TV syndication ($1 million to $2 million) -- the total is between $37 billion and $40 billion.

This story has been updated.

3 comments about "Linear TV Prime-Time Upfront Shrinks 5%, CTV Expands 31%".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2023 at 12:58 p.m.

    Wayne I see that a correction is needed in the brodcast network CPMs for the previous two seasons. The CPM for 2021-22 should be $45.03 and the 2022-23 CPM was $49.35.

  2. Kevin Krim from EDO, Inc., August 11, 2023 at 4:51 p.m.

    Is there an apples-to-oranges issue in comparing the CPMs of prime-time Broadcast and Cable to CTV (where daypart is not a prevalent paradigm)?

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2023 at 5:08 p.m.

    Kevin, there are always some apples to oranges elements involved in media CPM and other comparisons. For national TV, at least, Nielsen eliminates all sets where the commercial is not shown---so that's a constant of sorts but aside from that there are always differences in attentiveness by show type, the amount of clutter in break, the demos of the viewer, how interesting the ad messages are, etc. To some extent these are accounted for by TVision's webcam measurements of commercial attentiveness and one hopes that media planners are aware of whatever distinctions these reveal. In general, I would say that CPMs within TV are far more comparable than CPMs across media---likeTV versus radio, for example.

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