ABC, CBS Work Out Live-Plus Ad Sales Formulas

May 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Fast or slow, the broadcast networks say they’re ready to go.
Despite the issues of commercial ratings, digital video recorders and integrated marketing complicating matters, ad sales executives at ABC and CBS said they’re prepared to begin negotiations in the upfront market.
Last year, ad buyers’ insistence that ads be bought on live program ratings stalled the market until the networks, which wanted delayed viewing by DVR owners factored in, caved. This year, they expect things to be different.
After ABC’s upfront on Tuesday, Mike Shaw, president of sales and marketing, said there were already some clients who were ready to negotiate.
Based on his conversations with buyers and clients, Mr. Shaw said he thought the most popular basis for buying ads would be average commercial ratings for programs seen live plus those seen up to three days later by DVR users. But he was unsure how big a proportion of his sales would be done using that measurement.
CBS Sales President Jo Ann Ross on Wednesday at a pre-upfront meeting said the network was basing its pricing on live plus three days, and would adjust it for clients who wanted to use other measurements. The network will not do deals on a live-only basis because it insists on getting credit for at least some delayed viewing.
Her colleague David Poltrack, CBS’s executive VP for research and planning, said some individual clients might want to vary the metrics used to buy different spots. Spots scheduled to air on Thursday might be bought on live plus three to capture weekend viewing, while spots on Monday might be based on live plus four, he said.
Unlike last year, Ms. Ross said, it seemed that buyers and clients have had time to analyze the new commercial ratings, so she didn’t expect the market to stall over the issue like it did last year.
While a fast-moving market is generally seen as favorable for sellers and a slow market is advantageous for buyers, as it was last year, Ms. Ross insisted that they would not try to rush the market. With all the new variables involved, “You want your clients to be comfortable,” she said.
Mr. Poltrack, who earlier this year predicted ad revenues for the broadcast networks would be up 3 percent for 2007, said he saw demand building in the upfront market; he noted the scatter market for last-minute spots has been strong as well.
That means that if the market gets off to a slow start, it’s not necessarily bad for the broadcasters.
“It’s bad for people who rented homes in the Hamptons. It’s not bad for the industry,” said Mr. Poltrack. “Slow may be the way to go.”

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)