CBS Upfront Closes at $2.5 Billion

ABC Finishes at $2.4 Billion, Fox at $1.9 Billion; NBC, CW Deals Continue

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Three down, two to go. CBS closed its upfront business today with a package worth $2.5 billion, boasting the highest volume of inventory for a second consecutive year and a more than 5% increase from its 2006 total.
With the broadcast upfront winding down, one major buyer said the overall market is on track to being flat compared to last year, with the possibility of being 'up a tick, maybe down a tick.'
With the broadcast upfront winding down, one major buyer said the overall market is on track to being flat compared to last year, with the possibility of being 'up a tick, maybe down a tick.'

ABC was the second network to wrap upfront business this week after Fox closed yesterday with deals worth a total of $1.9 billion, a 5% increase from its total last year. ABC finished with $2.4 billion, a more than 5% increase from its $2.2 million to $2.3 billion take in 2006. Buyers estimated the network's cost-per-thousand viewers in prime time was up roughly 7% to 9%. CPMs for other dayparts -- such as early morning, news and late night -- are believed to have increased in the low double digits.

Using live plus three
Despite ABC sales chief Mike Shaw's public statement that he was open to doing deals on a variety of different data streams, the network estimated 90% of its total business was done using a live-plus-three metric, the preferred data stream this year.

One major buyer said the overall market is on track to being flat compared to last year, with the possibility of being "up a tick, maybe down a tick." Last year, the broadcast networks collectively took in an estimated $9 billion during the upfront.

With buyers estimating NBC to finish at around $1.5 billion, the CW's final take remains up for discussion. The CW started the week looking for low-double-digit CPM increases, but will likely close out the week in the high single digits at best, according to several buyers.

Middling ratings
Though the year-old network made a big splash with its upfront presentation and new programs such as "Gossip Girl" and "Reaper," its middling ratings and lack of additional dayparts will make it hard to merit the big bucks its competitors are raking in. The fledgling network closed last year with $750,000.

CPMs for CBS were up 8% to 9%, though ABC is expected to finish the week with the highest CPM increase.

With broadcast now expected to finish up as early as tomorrow, cable and syndication are up next. Leading the pack is the Turner networks, which began the week with the record-shattering ratings performance of "The Closer" on TNT. The program attracted more than 8 million viewers on June 18. (By comparison, the CW's biggest show, "America's Next Top Model," gets about half those numbers on a good night.) Cable networks are currently asking for high-single-digit CPM increases.
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