The annual upfront ad market has begun to move for the major broadcast networks, and Variety reports that the nets appear to be losing ground on pricing.
“CBS, ABC and NBC have all begun to secure advance advertising commitments as part of the market for commercial time on TV, according to media-buying executives and other people familiar with the pace of negotiations,” Variety reports, noting that the market is shaping up with increases in CPM — the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers — in the range of 2% to 5%.
That’s down from a year ago, when CBS nailed down a CPM hike of 6% while ABC got prices up by about 4% to 5% and NBC was looking at a relative surge of 7.5% to 8%.
“The numbers suggest the TV networks continue to face pressures from advertisers who are exploring new opportunities to sponsor new kinds of media, including streaming video,” the Variety report notes. “For the fourth consecutive year, advertisers are lobbying to narrow the rate of increase they pay, and, by several accounts, succeeding.”
Fox began moving upfront commitments about a week ahead of the others, and Variety notes that the network has settled for CPMs that are flat or even down by as much as 2%.
“The network has come under pressure by advertisers to lower its pricing, owing to ratings shortfalls it has weathered in recent seasons with the aging of ‘American Idol,'” Variety notes. “Because of its ratings success in past years, Fox has some of the highest rates for reaching 1,000 viewers in the business.”