×

Late-Night, Mornings Drive Overall Upfront Volume Gains for CBS (EXCLUSIVE)

CBS has found new traction in late night and morning news – and viewership gains for shows like “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” and “CBS This Morning” have “affected our bottom line,”CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told reporters in May.

The remarks might be prescient. CBS expects to wrap its annual upfront discussions for advance ad commitments with volume gains driven largely by TV programs other than its array of primetime comedies and dramas, according to a person familiar with the situation, while volume for prime is expected to be flat with last year’s activity. Inside CBS, executives are pleased by the results, this person said, given that projections for 2017’s upfront market – when U.S. networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming season – had called for volume to slip. In 2016, CBS attracted between  $2.26 billion and $2.6 billion in ad commitments for primetime programming cycle, and drew volume gains of between 3% and 5%.

The network did a large number of deals calling for it to get credit for seven days’ worth of viewing from advertisers, this person said, and in some cases was able to strike so-called “C35” deals that allow it to get credit for viewers who watch a show more than a month after it originally airs. The agreements represent a nod to changing viewer habits that allow fans of programs like “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory” to watch episodes of their favorites on demand and at times of their own choosing, rather than at a particular time on a specific day.

CBS’ results also illustrate how TV is evolving in an era when viewers are migrating toward new screens and viewing behaviors, and programming choices are being driven in some part by the swirl of controversy around President Donald Trump and a growing swell of White House intrigue. In the upfront market, U.S. TV networks’  success is typically driven by interest in the primetime schedule, and still is.  But in 2017, new attention on news programming and late night shows, which have brought viewers to the screen rabidly engaged in the current news cycle, is of growing importance to advertisers.

CBS sought high-single-digit to low-double-digit percentage increases in CPMs  – a measure of the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers that is integral to these annual discussions between TV networks and Madison Avenue – for non-primetime inventory, while seeking increases in the high-single-digit percentage range for primetime inventory, according to the person familiar with the situation.

It could not be immediately determined how much inventory CBS chose to hold back for so-called “scatter” advertising, or inventory that is purchased closer to air. That inventory typically costs more than the time that is reserved in advance in the upfront market.

One media-buying executive suggested CBS was aided by high demand from pharmaceutical manufacturers, who have long  been big spenders in news programming and on CBS. “Their demand helped drive” CBS performance, this buyer said – both in primetime and in so-called “fringe” programming.  This buyer also credited the experience of Jo Ann Ross, president of ad sales at CBS, who at present has the longest tenure overseeing a TV network’s ad sales. The TV industry has seen a broad turnover of senior ad-sales executives over the last year, and there are people new to the role at both Disney/ABC Television and at Fox Networks Group.

 

More TV

  • ‘Metro Exodus’ Opens Up Post-Apocalyptic Russia

    ‘Metro Exodus’ Author On Film, Possible TV Series, Expansive New Game

    Since the launch of the post-apocalyptic survival first-person shooter “Metro 2033” in 2010, the series has kept its action confined to the tunnels running underneath Russia. “Metro Exodus,” due out next month, takes the gameplay to the surface for the first time, going above ground with sprawling levels against a changing backdrop of weather conditions [...]

  • Mr. Peanut to Appear in His

    Mr. Peanut to Appear in His First Super Bowl Commercial

    The monocle-wearing Mr. Peanut is about to offer snack fans an entirely new lens on Super Bowl advertising. Planters, which has featured the anthropomorphic legume for more than a century as its spokes-character, will place him in a 30-second ad slated to appear in the second quarter of CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII on [...]

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content