By Jeanine Poggi
ABC has essentially wrapped its upfront deals, according to a person familiar with negotiations, concluding what has been a long and somewhat complicated bargaining session.
Based on media buyers’ estimates, ABC secured flat to slightly less volume than the approximately $2.2 billion it notched in last year’s upfront. The network ended the 2012-2013 season in last place, with an 8% decline in the all-important 18-to-49 demo, meaning it had less ratings points to sell.
ABC secured price hikes between 7% and 8%, slightly higher than the 6% to 7% increases it garnered in 2012.
ABC declined to comment on negotiations and it is unclear how much inventory the network made available in the upfront marketplace.
Broadcast negotiations dragged on longer than in years prior, when the Big Four and The CW were all but wrapped by mid-June.
In recent years it has become customary to finish up deal making by the July 4 weekend, but ABC’s desire to hold out for price increases and NBCUniversal’s tactic of bundling all its broadcast, cable and digital assets delayed and complicated negotiations.
In total, the five English-speaking networks brought in between $8.8 billion and $9.3 billion, in line with last year, according to Ad Age estimates.