Turner Exec Declares Upfront Strategy a Success

Jun 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Turner Broadcasting ad sales President David Levy has declared his “network replacement” strategy in the upfront to be a success, saying the cable networks he peddles drew price increases that were as high as anyone in all of television.
Most cable networks use their higher-rated original programming to help sell their lower-rated off-net programming. However, Mr. Levy this year decided to sell original programming—including such successful shows as TNT’s “The Closer” and “Saving Grace” and TBS’ “My Boys,” “The Bill Engvall Show” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” as well as upcoming series “Truth in Advertising,” “Leverage” and “Raising the Bar”—separately to advertisers trying to deal with the declining availability of ratings points at the broadcasters.
The result, according to industry sources, was price increases on a cost-per-thousand-viewers (CPM) basis in the 9% to 10% range, with volume increases in excess of 15%.
“Our strength in volume, a majority came from our broadcast replacement strategy,” Mr. Levy said. “This year we truly were a substitute for broadcast.”
Turner encountered some resistance to the pricing it was seeking early in the negotiations, but by the time negotiations were done, most agencies “realized that we certainly earned the right to seek the CPM increases that we did,” Mr. Levy said.
Turner also held to its pricing because money usually spent in the scatter market was shifted to the upfront, intensifying demand.
Because Turner’s ratings have been rising, unlike the broadcast networks, it still has commercial inventory to sell.
“If there’s a scatter marketplace—and I don’t know if there will be, the economy is certainly in question—but if there is one, we’ll be in a very unique position to have programming, and opportunities and sponsorships and contextual advertising remaining,” Mr. Levy said. “So if the scatter market does happen, we’ll be able to play it.”
Mr. Levy said Turner saw big gains in volume and pricing for its Adult Swim late-night network as well.
Turner also completed sales for its Cartoon Network kids channel, registering price increases in the mid-single digits during high-demand time periods, Mr. Levy said.
He said he saw unexpected demand in the September and pre-Easter periods and was surprised that toy advertising was up, rather than down.
In addition, Turner saw an increase of almost 200% in the amount of digital money it took in during the upfront. More buyers were ready to discuss digital during the upfront time frame, said Mr. Levy, who expects nearly all agencies to be buying digital from Turner in the upfront next year.


  1. Kudos for the great article. I am glad I have taken the time to learn this.

  2. Terrific post. I realy require backlik.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)