Logo

Wrap-Up of 2010 Broadcast Networks’ Upfront: Market Eked Out a Small Gain

Jun 11, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Brian Steinberg
Advertising Age

Advertisers have committed between $8.1 billion and $8.7 billion to the five broadcast networks’ coming program schedules, according to estimates from Advertising Age, eking out a small gain over last year’s estimated $7.8 billion to $8.1 billion.

In a continued sign of the robust activity surrounding this year’s marketplace, NBC Universal has completed negotiations for both its NBC broadcast network and its passel of cable properties. "It was a great upfront for the industry, and our results reflect that," Mike Pilot, president-sales and marketing, NBC Universal, said in a statement.

NBC Universal’s total take for the upfront — across cable and broadcast — was approximately $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the situation, representing a slight increase from its total last year, when it was slightly less than $4 billion. In 2008, the overall take was said to be slightly above that figure. For prime time, the NBC broadcast network was able to secure commitments somewhere around $1.6 billion. NBC secured about $1.5 billion in last year’s marketplace, according to Ad Age estimates.

In all, the five broadcast networks were able to charge more for their ad time — and sell more of it, to boot, a signal that marketers felt more free to spend than they did last year. It’s true, the fact that the networks sold more inventory this year than last makes apples-to-apples comparisons difficult. Even so, ad buyers and TV executives have all suggested that three types of advertisers hit hard by last’s year’s economic turmoil — automotive, retail and financial services — returned in force to the upfront market in 2010. Buyers said they also saw strong activity from movie studios as well as marketers of wireless and other telecommunications products.

At a time when consumers have an increasingly dizzying array of media choices, initial predictions on this upfront were moderate. Buyers early on said they were pushing NBC to take just a 5% increase on ad prices, yet the network was able to secure at least 7%, they acknowledged. Meanwhile, CBS was able to in some cases notch price increases at around 10% — a figure to which many ad buyers swore early on they’d never agree.

"There is fragmentation and there is a shift to cable, but I do think [broadcast] TV is still very powerful and, obviously, it is showing in the amount of money that is being spent there right now," said one media-buying executive.

With automotive marketers moving more strongly into the marketplace, other advertisers felt the need to get money down quickly, or be shut out of decent positioning across the broadcast prime time grid. That dynamic accounted in part for the quick timing of this year’s market. Last year, with the economy stalled, advertisers waited until late August to transact business — and insisted on price rollbacks before they’d even come to the table.

Underscoring the trend, money is also flowing strongly to cable. NBC Universal’s cable outlets have completed negotiations, while Time Warner’s Turner Entertainment channels are writing lots of business. Both networks have been able to secure strong prices increases in the low double-digit percentage range, according to people familiar with the negotiations. At Turner, advertisers seem to be capitulating in part to the company’s demand that ad time on the new Conan O’Brien show be priced at or near parity with late-night fare such as NBC’s "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno or CBS’s "Late Show" with David Letterman, according to a person familiar with negotiations.

ABC was able to secure somewhere around $2.2 billion in ad commitments for its prime-time schedule, according to Ad Age estimates, and $2.4 billion in commitments for all its inventory across all day parts, according to a person familiar with the situation. In a sign that NBC may be breaking out of its long tenure at the bottom of the broadcast-network rankings, the broadcast network was able to secure commitments totaling around $2.5 billion for all of its programming.

CBS secured between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion for prime time, Fox secured between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion for prime time and the CW secured between $370 million and $404 million for its prime-time schedule, according to people familiar with the networks’ negotiations.

While both sides of the table nod to this year’s robust activity, there wasn’t enough money in the market to return broadcast TV to levels seen in prior years. In 2008, for example, the five networks were able to secure about $9.2 billion in upfront commitments, and in 2007 captured commitments totaling $9.1 billion. Clearly, the networks continue to wrangle with eroding ratings and the realization that a screen on a computer or an iPod is just as handy as one built into a TV set.

37 Comments

  1. I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

  2. Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  3. Can I quote you in my report for school?

  4. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.glamour-watch.com online store.

  5. Hi, I really hope you might possibly point me in the right direction. I’m looking to have a championship belt made for a much beloved, retiring employee. We are working on having a dinner presentation for him and make it as pleasant a night as possible. The icing on the cake will be the presentation of a custom championship belt thanking him for his years of faithfull service. I was able to find one championship belt maker but I don’t know alot about them besides that they make championships for ROH Ring Of Honor wrestling. Any help will be appreciated.

  6. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.watchau.com online store.

  7. Good post, thanks

  8. Very informative, thanks for clearing up some issues for me! 🙂

  9. My bro told me about this site just today. Great blog you’ve got!

  10. Great blog, appreciate the effort put into this post! Thanks! 😀

  11. My bro told me about this site just today. Great blog you’ve got!

  12. Found your site today through Yahoo. Great blog you’ve got, bookmarked.

  13. Found your site today through Yahoo. Great blog you’ve got, bookmarked.

  14. This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  15. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  16. Very informative, thanks for clearing up some issues for me! 🙂

  17. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  18. I mean, I could see all this fuss over the guy if he’d led Jersey to the Finals

  19. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  20. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  21. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  22. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  23. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  24. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  25. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  26. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  27. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  28. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

  29. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  30. I like the writing relevancy of your blog and it does a pretty decent work of presenting the info.

  31. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  32. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  33. I like this website given and it has given me some sort of commitment to have success for some reason, so keep up the good work.

  34. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  35. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  36. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)