‘Friends,’ ‘Seinfeld’ hold high ground in syndie market

Jan 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

TV syndication is one business that isn’t a head case this year. Though King World Productions therapist “Dr. Phil” McGraw reigns as a new hit for the industry, the business is clear-headed for program distributors.
Syndication rode the good fortunes of a hot TV advertising market in getting healthy high-single-digit cost-per-thousand ad-price increases during last June’s upfront selling period for the current season.
In overall revenue, syndication climbed 18 percent to $2 billion during the upfront period, according to Advertising Age. The TV upfront market is where marketers buy an entire year of advertising before the season starts.
Many shows, including the perennial leader, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “Friends,” posted hefty increases. Big price gains also were found with Sony Pictures Television’s “Seinfeld,” which moved into the No. 2 position just ahead of Paramount Domestic Television’s “Entertainment Tonight” among the top 50 syndicated shows ranked by ad price (see chart at right). “Friends” also topped the list last year, followed by “ET” and “Seinfeld.”
Most of the top-tier shows received major boosts in unit pricing, including King World’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which soared by 47.2 percent. Program analysts said “Raymond” improved its time periods to better-rated late-night/evening slots from weaker early fringe.
“In previous years, syndication expanded-with too many shows and too many people selling them,” said Doug Seay, senior VP and director of national broadcast at Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney, New York. “They had a correction.”