ABC wraps upfront dealmaking

Net books $2.4 bil in advertising commitments

Advertisers committed more coin than last year to primetime broadcast shows as the broadcast networks wrapped up selling for the 2011-12 upfront season on Thursday.

By concluding the whole process in under two weeks, marketers signaled continued enthusiasm for the nets that drove the scatter market by solid double-digit gains in recent months, but the lofty boasts in private from some showbiz execs that rate increases would near 20% proved too optimistic.

Ratings leader CBS again led the way this upfront season, booking sales that were up by $100 million-$150 million vs. last year’s take of nearly $2.5 billion, according to sources familiar with the commitments. CPM rates edged higher by 13%-15%. The Eye sold nearly 80% of inventory, comparable to if not slightly less than last year.NBC, with a new owner in Comcast and a new programming czar in Bob Greenblatt, had reason to boast this year as well, with CPM rates up 9%, a substantial gain from the two previous years and ahead of an 8% projection from Wall Street. NBC received $100 million more in commitments than last year, when it booked $1.6 billion from advertisers, with roughly the same amount of inventory — 80% — sold. Sales at NBC News programs, including “Today,” were robust, and sales for NBC’s Sunday night broadcast of NFL games were at an all-time high, signaling optimism from Madison Avenue that a full season will be played.

ABC said it saw solid gains in pricing, too, without being specific. It is believed to have received commitments of $2.4 billion for its primetime lineup, up from $2.2 billion last year. What’s more, rate increases averaged 11%-12%, healthy gains from last year’s CPM hikes of 8%-9%.

Executives declined to be interviewed, but the net said in a statement: “Buoyed by a strong response from advertisers to a schedule that was equal parts stability and ambition that includes TV’s No. 1 drama and No. 1 comedy and many buzz-worthy new additions, ABC has concluded its upfront negotiations, achieving significant increases in pricing.”

A week ago, Fox concluded upfront selling, finishing up with just under $2 billion in advance commitments, with CPMs averaging about 11%-12% over last year’s rates. CW, too, finished up last Thursday with commitments of $400 million-$420 million on CPM gains averaging 11%.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety