×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Upfront 2015: CBS, ABC, NBC Start to Sell Amid Pricing Pressure

TV’s annual upfront market has begun to move in earnest, but the networks are ceding some ground to Madison Avenue in the process.

CBS, ABC and NBC have all begun to secure advance advertising commitments as part of the market for commercial time on TV, according to media-buying executives and other people familiar with the pace of negotiations. These executives suggest the three networks are all jockeying for increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers — a measure also known as a CPM that is central to these annual talks — in the range of 2% to 5%.

The numbers suggest the TV networks continue to face pressures from advertisers that are exploring new opportunities to sponsor new kinds of media, including streaming video. For the fourth consecutive year, advertisers are lobbying to narrow the rate of increase they pay, and are, by several accounts, succeeding. In 2014, CBS secured a CPM increase of 6%. ABC pressed for increases of 4% to 5%. And NBC pushed for CPM increases of between 7.5% and 8%. Advertisers committed between $8.17 billion and $8.94 billion for the 2014-15 broadcast primetime schedule, according to Variety estimates.

Fox has already begun doing deals, according to people familiar with the talks, with CPMs staying flat with last year’s terms or rolling back as much as 2%. The network has come under pressure by advertisers to lower its pricing owing to ratings shortfalls it has weathered in recent seasons with the aging of “American Idol.”  Because of its ratings success in past years, Fox has some of the highest rates for reaching 1,000 viewers in the business.

The CW has also begun to make progress in sales, according to a person familiar with the situation, though terms of deals could not be immediately learned.

All of the networks have specific pieces of content and ad innovations to highlight. NBCUniversal is said to be pressing for sales that involve not only its NBC network, but its cable outlets as well. ABC, according to ad buyers, is touting its ratings growth last season. CBS has been calling attention to its 2016 broadcast of Super Bowl 50 as well as the debut of Stephen Colbert in “The Late Show” in September.

More TV

  • Zach Woods

    'Silicon Valley' Star Zach Woods Joins HBO Comedy Pilot 'Avenue 5'

    Zach Woods is staying in the HBO fold. The actor, who currently stars in the HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley,” has been cast in the comedy pilot “Avenue 5” currently in the works at the premium cabler. The project is described as a comedy set in the future, mostly in space. Woods will play Matt [...]

  • Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, the 1975

    Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, the 1975 Win Big at Brit Awards

    Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and the 1975 were big winners at Wednesday night’s Brit Awards, taking home the Best British Single (for Harris and Lipa’s “One Kiss”), Album of the Year (for The 1975’s “Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships”) as well as Best British Group (the 1975). While the show, livestreamed from London’s O2 Arena, [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Launching Contract Negotiations

    SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Quietly Launch Contract Negotiations

    SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry are quietly launching commercial contract talks on Wednesday, six weeks before the current master contract expires on March 31. Both sides have declined to comment on the talks, which will take place in New York City, and have already agreed to a news blackout until there’s a deal in place. [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    ABC Will Test New Commercial Format During Oscars

    Lady Gaga and Viggo Mortensen aren’t the only entities set to take a star turn during ABC’s coming broadcast of the Oscars. Marriott International will get its own commercial break during ABC’s telecast this Sunday evening. Viewers will see a 30-second promo for the hotel operator and then a 60 second ad for its new [...]

  • Ariana Grande Surprises Boy Band on

    Ariana Grande Surprises Filipino Boy Band on 'Corden'

    The Filipino boy band TNT Boys gained an extra member Tuesday night when pop-star Ariana Grande made a surprise appearance during the group’s performance on “The Late Late Show With James Corden.” After winning Filipino competition show “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids,” band members Keifer Sanchez, Mackie Empuerto, and Francis Concepcion have continued to solidify [...]

  • Tucker Carlson

    Tucker Carlson Calls Historian 'Tiny Brain,' 'Moron' in Expletive-Laden Leaked Video

    Historian Rutger Bregman has released cellphone footage of an unaired interview he did with Fox News host Tucker Carlson and an email that he received from Carlson afterward that called him “an a–hole.” Bregman, an author of several books on history, economics, and philosophy, claimed Carlson invited him on his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content