CBS concludes upfront negotiations

Network's haul is up more than 15% from last year

CBS lowered the curtain Tuesday on its upfront advertising sales negotiations.

The network is believed to have wrapped with about $2.5 billion in advance bookings for the upcoming season. The Eye’s strong haul is up more than 15% from last year, when the TV ad market was hammered by the tremors in the global economy.

ABC and NBC are also close to concluding their upfront wrangling. Fox and CW completed their biz on Friday (Daily Variety, June 7).

CBS was said to push hard in its negotiations with media buyers, securing rate increases in the 9% range and higher, for some key programs. Fox, which has 15 hours a week of primetime inventory to the Big Three’s 22 hours, set the pace of the market early last week, finishing out with about $1.9 billion and rate hikes of 8%-9%.

“As we close out the upfront, we are pleased to once again be in the leadership position, with rate increases and total volume commensurate with our number one standing in the marketplace,” CBS said in a statement.

CBS’ leverage was boosted by its solid ratings perf in the 2009-10 campaign and a good response from buyers to its frosh class for the fall, including the new Chuck Lorre laffer “Mike and Molly” and the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0.”

The network is said to have booked deals for as much as 80% of its 2010-11 inventory in primetime and other dayparts. That’s a much higher volume than last year, when the network held back 35% of its inventory during the upfront rather than sell at depressed prices. The gamble paid off for CBS as the TV ad market recovered and the net had more time to sell at higher prices in the short-term scatter market.

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