In Depth

Credit Suisse Expects Upfront Sales to Drop 15%

Credit Suisse is forecasting that sales in the broadcast upfront market will drop 15% to $7.9 billion.

Analyst Spencer Wang expects the broadcasters, whose ratings were down 10%, to sell 5% less primetime inventory at flat pricing.

For cable, Mr. Wang sees the upfront slipping 0.6% to $7.8 billion. He expects cable networks on average to see their prices on a cost-per-thousand-viewers (CPM) basis fall 2.5%. That is offset by audience growth of 2%.

Mr. Wang said he expected CBS, whose ratings were up this season, to do better than other networks. He forecasts the network's upfront take will be down just 8.6% from last year to $2.285 billion. ABC will be down14.9% to $2.127 billion, Mr. Wang forecasts, and Fox will be down 15.2% to $1.655 billion, about even with the overall market.

NBC and The CW will do worse than the market, with NBC’s upfront sales down 18.1% to $1.556 billion and The CW down 29.8% to $256 million.

Credit Suisse expects Turner Broadcasting to outperform among the cable network groups. It expects Viacom's networks to underperform.