ABC Begins to Strike Upfront Deals, Source Says

Jun 14, 2006  •  Post A Comment

After a slow start, ABC has begun to make upfront advertising deals, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The network was initially expected to be the leader in setting prices during the upfront, helped by a number of hit shows including “Grey’s Anatomy” and improved ratings that ranked it No. 2 among U.S. households last season.

But ABC’s ad sales have gotten off to a slower start this year than last, when it capitalized on a revival spurred by “Housewives” and “Lost” to lock in deals early.

This year, the network got bogged down in the dispute with advertisers over how to count television viewers that use digital video recorders. The network backed down after receiving little support from competing networks. Then ABC appeared to be holding out for price increases for commercial time in the 4-6 percent range.

Sources were not specific about what prices ABC was getting. They also declined to provide specifics on how much of its ad inventory ABC has sold.

On Tuesday, News Corp. President Peter Chernin said Fox had done about 70 percent of its upfront business , getting increases in the 2-3 percent range on a cost-per-thousand basis. He estimated that CBS and NBC had done about 60-70 percent of their business.