×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Upfronts: CW Wraps Ad Sales With Flat Volume (EXCLUSIVE)

Net books $400 million-$420 million in advance commitments for 2013-14 season

The CW has wrapped its upfront sales process, securing a level of advance advertising commitments for the 2013-14 season that is flat with its performance in both 2012 and 2011, according to a person familiar with the network.

The CW notched between $400 million and $420 million in commitments from advertisers, an amount similar to what it won from advertisers in its past two upfront efforts. The network sold approximately 75% of its inventory, the person familiar with the situation said,  reserving the rest of its time to be sold as so-called “scatter” advertsing, or ad time sold closer to purchase date.  The CW sold a similar amount of inventory in last year’s upfront.

The CW secured CPM increases, or increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, of between 5% and 6%, according to the person familiar with the matter. In a sign that TV networks are operating with less leverage in the annual pre-season advertising negotiations, the network’s CPMs this year were slightly below the 5.5% to 6.5% it negotiated in 2012 and significantly below the 10% to 12% it established in 2011.

In its pitch to advertisers, the CW offered “converged” measures that take into account not just traditional TV viewership, but also viewers who watch its shows on its web site, cwtv.com, as well as with its mobile apps, according to the person familiar with the situation.

The network also emphasized programs with sci-fi or supernatural elements, including “The Tomorrow People” and the “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “The Originals.” These new shows are expected to help broaden its audience beyond young women along with returning programs such as “Arrow,” “Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural.”

The CW is the first to publicly acknowledge the completion of its upfront sales. Last year, it made a similar announcement on June 7. The CW has a smaller amount of ad inventory to sell than the Big Four – it typically does not air original programming on weekends and it only airs two hours of prime-time programming on weeknights.

News Corp.’s Fox has also made progress in upfront sales, according to buyers and other people familiar with the situation. Fox is selling ad time with CPM increases said to come in at 5% to 7%, lower than the 7% to 9% it secured in 2012. Fox has experienced a significant decline in ratings this season, owing in part to the performance of its venerable “American Idol.”

ABC, NBC and CBS are all in the midst of negotiations with advertisers, but are not believed to have written a significant amount of business. ABC has been seeking CPM increases of 7% to 8%, while NBC has been seeking CPM increases of 8% or more. Ad buyers say they are determined not to agree to outsize increases in the wake of general broadcast-sector ratings declines in the recently completed season.

Ad dollars secured in the upfront are promised, but not necessarily paid. Advertisers can trim their commitments later in the year depending on program and scheduling changes or their own financial criteria.

More Biz

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Variety Keynote Speaker Alan Horn Sees Opportunities in Expanded Portfolio

    As Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer, Hollywood veteran Alan Horn oversees the most enviable content portfolio in show business. In step with his co-chairman, Alan Bergman, Horn has command of monolithic brands like Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and Pixar — to say nothing of the 21st Century Fox film assets the men added [...]

  • Edward Cheng, Tencent Pictures CEO

    Tencent Shows Rising Cost of Compliance, Impact of China's Slowing Economy

    Tencent, the Chinese tech giant which commands dominant positions across games, music, streaming and social media, Wednesday revealed third quarter results weighed down by slowing ad sales, slowing PC games and rising costs. Revenues in the July to September period showed a 21% year-on-year increase to RMB97.2 billion ($13.8 billion). Net profits dropped 13% to [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

  • Andrea Bocelli

    Andrea Bocelli Calls Plácido Domingo Cancellations Due to Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Absurd’

    Italian singer Andrea Bocelli is defending embattled opera star Plácido Domingo, saying it is “absurd” that concerts have been canceled in the wake of multiple sexual-harassment allegations. “I am still appalled at what happened to this incredible artist,” Bocelli said, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t understand this. Tomorrow a lady can just come up [...]

  • Rudy Lopez Negrete Returns to CAA     

    Rudy Lopez Negrete Returns to CAA

    Rudy Lopez Negrete has rejoined CAA as an agent in the Music Touring department, specifically focused on leading brand partnerships for CAA’s Latin music clients. He will be based in the company’s Los Angeles office, where he will work with Latin artists including Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Becky G, Isabela Merced, Luis Fonsi, Mon [...]

  • Richard Plepler HBO

    Former HBO Chief Richard Plepler Close to Signing Apple TV Plus Production Pact

    Former HBO chief Richard Plepler is close to signing an exclusive production pact with Apple TV Plus. Apple declined to comment and Plepler could not immediately be reached for comment. It’s understood that Plepler plans to launch a boutique production company designed to focus on a handful of high-profile projects. Among his advisors in pulling [...]

  • Byron AllenVariety Inclusion Summit, Inside, Los

    Byron Allen, Comcast to Square Off in Supreme Court on Racial Discrimination Case

    Byron Allen’s racial discrimination case against Comcast Corp. on Wednesday heads to the Supreme Court, where justices will consider Comcast’s argument that the case should hinge on two words: “but for.” Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast in February 2015, arguing that the nation’s largest cable operator was discriminating against his company, Entertainment [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content