The CW Wraps Its Upfront Sales

Broadcast TV's Final Tally at $9.1 Billion, up 1%

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) --The broadcast upfront has officially wrapped, and the networks stand to make $9.1 billion now that the CW has finished with $630 million to $650 million.
Thanks in part to the CW's upfront haul, broadcaster's final ad sales tally is up 4% from last year.
Thanks in part to the CW's upfront haul, broadcaster's final ad sales tally is up 4% from last year.

"In just our second upfront, we exceeded our revenue goals, adding over a dozen new advertisers with great strength in categories like wireless, retail and theatrical, a bull's-eye for the CW's young-adult viewers," said CW Exec VP-Ad Sales Bill Morningstar.

CPM increases
The 18-to-34-targeted network boasts the largest increases in cost-per-thousand viewers rates of the season, estimated to be in the 10% to 11% range. It's followed by CBS with 8% to 9%, ABC with 7% to 9%, Fox with high 5% to 7% and NBC at 4% to 6%.

The overall market is up about 1.1% from its $9 billion haul last year. CBS took the most this year, with $2.45 billion (last year's tally: $2.4 billion); followed by ABC with $2.4 billion (up from last year's $2.2 billion); Fox with $1.9 billion (vs. last year's $1.8 billion); NBC at $1.8 billion; and the CW with about $640 million. NBC was down from its 2006 total, $1.9 billion, as was the CW, which was credited with $650 million last year.

Despite a shift to commercial ratings from average program ratings this year and lower prime-time ratings across the board, broadcast's prime status as the best place for mass reach remains untainted in many execs' eyes.

Tricky to measure
ABC sales chief Mike Shaw said fourth-quarter ratings were tricky to measure after Nielsen's shift from program to commercial ratings, so no "apples-to-apples comparison" could be made to the previous year. Still, he said, "we've seen all sorts of factors, but we don't have supply down nearly as much. The fact that we then switched to a completely different metric and stream kind of made all that a moot point. What matters is whether commercials are being seen. Everyone is projecting groups based on commercial ratings, not program [ratings], and that changes everything."

NBC's head of sales, Mike Pilot, added: "This upfront affirmed the power of network television, and we're extremely pleased with our results. Clients really responded to our willingness to work with them in ways that extend beyond the 30-second spot, and they also saw value in the entire NBC Universal portfolio, which together presents an extremely compelling sales proposition that's unmatched in the industry."

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CORRECTION: Due to a mathematical error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the upfront market was up 4% over last year. Using the numbers available at writing, this year's market was up 1.1% over last year.
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