ABC, Fox Conclude Upfront Ad Sales

Jun 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Fox and ABC have largely concluded their sales in a surprisingly robust upfront advertising market.
ABC topped its goals, exceeding last year’s sales of about $2.4 billion by $125 million, according to Mike Shaw, the network’s president of sales. Prices on a cost-per-thousand-viewers basis rose by 9% and the network sold slightly more of its prime-time inventory than last year.
ABC added new clients in prime time, late night, daytime, morning and news.
In what was expected to be a weak market because of fears about the economy, buyers said money appears to have shifted from the scatter market.
Mr. Shaw said this was the market he had been forecasting and also that it wasn’t clear the money was coming from scatter.
He said he was surprised by the last-minute gloomy forecasts from the likes of Merrill Lynch, which predicted the market would be down from 2% to 14%.
“Most of the sellers saw it coming,” he said.
ABC did some of the upfront’s earliest big deals at pricing that stayed steady throughout the market.
“Certainly some people read it more quickly than others,” he said. “Once the market was moving, those prices held..”
Mr. Shaw said it would be difficult to predict whether there is still money in the scatter market, or what full-year revenues will be.
“That will depend on the ratings,” he said. “Look at the start and you could assume there will be more dollars [going to the networks]. We have to deliver the [gross ratings points] to hold onto those dollars.”
Fox said in a statement that it had concluded its prime-time upfront sales “at volume and pricing levels consistent with the No. 1 network.”
4:10 p.m.: Updated throughout

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