Fox sets upfront pace

Leads webs in price hikes; ABC rakes in early cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Fox is getting the biggest price increases in the advertising upfront market, followed by NBC, CBS and ABC.

The market continued along its orderly pace Wednesday, with media buyers reporting that Fox is writing business at 6%-8% cost per thousand (CPM) increases, NBC is getting about 5% increases, CBS about 3% increases and ABC in the 1%-2% range.

Buyer and network sources said that ABC cut some large deals early in the market and has booked the most total dollars, more than $600 million. Because ABC has suffered such big ratings losses, sources said it was a surprise success story for the Alphabet web to book business at any increase at all.

All the price increases by the Big Four networks are smaller than last year.

Fox has so far brought in about $400 million, said marketplace sources.

The WB is expected to wrap up its upfront business today at more than double last year’s $150 million total. Competitor UPN was said to be asking for 5% increases.

The rest of the networks will be doing business into next week.

“The marketplace is running rather orderly, as opposed to the panic of previous years,” said Jerry Solomon, a media buyer with SFM Media. “Cable, syndication and network fringe are seeing higher budgets than expected and primetime is seeing lower budgets than expected.”

Buyers said cable networks such as Discovery, USA, TBS and TNT were doing business simultaneously with the broadcast networks. That’s a change. Usually, cable has to wait for the broadcast nets to finish their business.

Buyer sources said that Young & Rubicam cut a big deal with the Turner entertainment networks.