CW Expects to Notch Volume Gains in TV’s Upfront Market

Advertisers attracted to a growing slate of superhero dramas and a revival of the long-running drama “Dynasty” helped boost upfront volume at the CW, another signal that the 2017 market for TV advertising could be more robust than had been previously expected.

The CW expects a gain in volume of advance ad commitments of between 3% and 5%, according to a person familiar with the matter. This means the network, owned jointly by CBS and Time Warner, could have collected commitments worth between $490.9 million and $549.4 million. In 2016, the CW notched commitments believed to be valued between $476.6 million and $523.2 million.

The network sought increases in the rate it charges to reach 1,000 viewers — a measure known as a CPM — in the high single-digit to low double-digit percentage range, this person said. In 2017, the network pressed for CPM hikes in the low-double digit percentages.

Advertisers showed particular interest in new dramas like “Dynasty,” a reboot of the popular Aaron Spelling-produced serial that starred John Forsythe, Linda Evans, and Joan Collins, among others, as well as “Valor,” a serial military-themed thriller. The network expects to add “Black Lightning,” a superhero serial based on the DC Comics character, to its arsenal of similarly themed dramas, which include “Supergirl,” “The Flash,” “Arrow,” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.”

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.

The network sold about 80% of its ad inventory, this person said, on par with 2016. 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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