ABC, CW Close to FInishing Upfront Ads Sales

Jun 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC is expected to finish closing almost all its upfront television-advertising deals by the end of the day, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

The new CW network was also substantially done with upfront sales, meeting revenue goals in a challenging market, a spokesman said. The new network did deals with more advertisers than its predecessors, the WB and UPN, did last year. The CW registered more advertising commitments at higher prices than the WB did, the spokesman said.

Buyers said ABC was getting price increases of 2 percent on a cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) basis, lower than expected the network that had been expected to lead the market. Last year, ABC got the biggest increases among broadcast networks at 4-6 percent.

While ABC held out for-and in some cases got-increases of 3-4 percent, Fox moved quickly and finished its deals earlier this week. While Fox’s CMP increases were small, in the 2-3 percent range, it increased its sales volume by about $200 million to $1.9 billion, according to knowledgeable sources.

NBC is also close to finishing its upfront deals, posting about $1.8 billion in prime-time sales, a person familiar with the matter said. That total, which includes commercial time on its new Sunday night NFL franchise, is little changed from last year. Prices dropped in NBC’s deals by 5-7 percent, the source said.

People familiar with CBS’s upfront sales declined to say how close the network is to finishing upfront sales. One buyer said the network was getting CPM increases in the zero-2 percent range.