Aggressive push at upfronts yields 9%-10% hike

Turner Broadcasting has wrapped a strong upfront selling season for TNT, TBS and TruTV, topping $1 billion in advance bookings.

The cablers saw strong gains over last year in a hot market for TV spots, Turner execs said. Turner’s sales reps were aggressive in seeking rate increases in the wake of the company’s sizable investments in original programming for the coming season.

The CPM rate increases for the three entertainment channels averaged out to 9%-10%, according to industry estimates.

Turner’s team pushed especially hard for broadcast-level latenight rates for TBS’ upcoming Conan O’Brien yakker. Turner insiders indicated that the they hit their target for the show. Some media buyers disputed that claim, but there’s no question that TBS’ latenight rates shot up on the back of O’Brien.

“These increases are an expression of confidence in our portfolio,” said David Levy, Turner’s prexy of sales, distribution and sports, in a statement. “Clients continue to value the brands and programming foundation we have built for TBS, TNT and TruTV, as well as our ability to develop integrated marketing partnerships that deliver value for their marketing messages.”

Turner continues to wrangle with ad buyers on sales for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and CNN.

The broadcast nets concluded their upfront negotiations last week, with the total haul projected to come in at around $8.5 billion. NBC Universal’s cable group and Viacom’s cablers are also said to have completed their upfront biz. Cable’s total tally is expected to come in at about $8 billion, up markedly from last year’s estimated $6.5 billion-$7 billion.

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