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Fox, CW wrap up upfront sales

Networks announce conclusion of deals

Fox and the CW have called it a wrap on upfront sales.

Fox is believed to have booked about $1.8 billion-$1.9 billion in ad sales for the upcoming season, at rate hikes averaging out to about 9% over last year. The No. 1 net in the adults 18-49 demographic sold about 80% of its blurb inventory, about 10% more than it booked in last year’s depressed market.

Fox said in a statement Friday that its sales concluded at “volume and pricing levels consistent with our position as the No. 1 network.”

CW is said to have taken in about $350 milllion, with rate hikes averaging around 7.5%. The netlet this year put a huge emphasis on packaging TV time with spots in online plays of its signature skeins. CW’s volume was believed to be at least 75%, if not higher.

Rob Tuck, CW’s exec veep of national sales, said demand was strong in all of the net’s target ad categories, inlcuding retail, autos, wireless service providers and health and beauty. The net that takes aim at the 18-34 demo had a good response from buyers to its new actioner “Nikita,” starring Maggie Q.

“Our convergence initiative has been a resounding success with the advertising community,” Tuck said in a statement. “The vast majority of our clients have bought both on-air and full episode streaming online.”

The major nets typically book commitments for as much as 70%-80% of their ad inventory for the coming season during the upfront period.

Fox kicked off the market on Tuesday, moving aggressively to write business and set the market rate for CPM increases. CBS, ABC and NBC have been cutting deals this week. There’s been some grousing that Fox moved too quickly and that the nets should have pushed harder for higher increases. But Fox’s focus was said to be on grabbing a greater share of the available dollars as possible at solid rating increases from last year.

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