It’s a wrap: CBS closes upfront sales
Becomes second network to finish up, following the CW
June 10, 2013
CBS is usually one of the last to wrap up its upfront sales, pushing for greater gains than the other networks and content to hold out until buyers give in to those demands.
But this year, in what’s been more of a buyer’s market than a seller’s, CBS finished up early.
On Friday the network became the second English-language broadcaster to wrap upfront sales, following the CW last Wednesday.
Buyers tell Media Life that CBS earned an average 7.5 percent CPM gain, below the 9 percent gains that the network averaged last year.
It was also lower than the 10 percent gains that CBS CEO Les Moonves, ever the bold predictor, had foreseen.
But it was slightly higher than the 7 percent increase that one top analyst, Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser, had predicted the network would earn.
CBS did sell slightly more volume this year than last, roughly 80 percent, according to reports. Last year it moved about 77 percent of its ad space during the upfront.
Of course CBS came into negotiations with more leverage than any other network.
It finished first in the highly coveted adults 18-49 demographic for the first time in 21 years, and it has a number of in-demand, highly rated shows, including “The Big Bang Theory,” broadcast’s top scripted series.
It also has one of fall’s most highly anticipated series, the new drama “Hostages,” which media buyers say looks like one of the best new shows.
With CBS done, there are now three English-language broadcasters still in negotiations. Fox and ABC began writing deals two weeks ago.
NBC’s progress has been slower, as it’s reportedly pushing bundles with its NBCUniversal cable networks.
Sources also say that Univision is now in negotiations, though it has not finalized any deals yet.
Going into the upfront, analysts predicted CPM gains would fall in the 3 to 6 percent range, depending on the network.
Last year the broadcast upfront wrapped up two weeks after the networks started writing deals, with final sales of $9.57 billion for the Big Five networks. Analysts have forecast that this year’s total volume of sales will fall 2 to 4 percent.
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