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CW Sees Upfront Wrapping With Large Volume Increase

Supergirl can, like her famous cousin, bend the course of mighty rivers and leap tall buildings in a single bound. In 2016, she has helped the CW wrap what is believed to be a strong upfront.

The network, controlled jointly  by CBS and Time Warner, expects to finish its upfront sales process with what could be as much as a 12% to 14% increase in volume of advance advertising commitments, according to a person familiar with the situation. The CW secured between $425.6 million and $458.9 million in commitments in last year’s talks, which would suggest the CW notched between $476.6 million and $523.2 million in ad reservations.

This person said the CW pressed for increases in the rate of reaching 1,000 viewers – a metric known as a CPM that is integral to these annual talks between U.S. TV networks and Madison Avenue – in the low-double digit percentage range. Last year, the CW scored CPM increases of in the range of just 4%.

One of the highlights of the CW’s new fall lineup was the addition of “Supergirl,” a super-hero drama that launched its first season on CBS. CW executives touted that show as helping the network continue to broaden its reach among viewers of both genders. The series joins a spate of super hero programs like “Arrow” and “The Flash” that have helped lend new momentum to the network.

The figures relating to ad commitments do not represent cold, hard cash, but are an indication of what advertisers intend to spend in the months ahead. As such, CW’s process would augur new interest in TV after the networks have experienced volume declines for the past several years.

The network sold about 80% of its ad inventory, this person said, seemingly more than last year, when it was said to have sold between 75% and 80% of its commercial time. When demand is higher, networks tend to sell more in the upfront market, rather than holding it back for sale on an as-needed basis for what is known as “scatter.”

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