Tracking TV's Biggest Spenders

How Much Marketers in Major Categories Committed in This Year's $9.2 Billion Upfront

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NEW YORK ( -- Tallying the broadcast upfront marketplace is difficult at best, largely because the numbers don't signify hard cash, only commitments to buy ad time later in the year. Tougher still is figuring out how specific categories of advertisers decided to allocate their ad money.

TV's Biggest Spenders

Where telecoms, the film industry, retailers, pharma and the auto industry spent their money.
It's safe to say that marketers of all stripes face a more daunting environment than they have in the past. Broadcast-TV ratings are showing steady signs of erosion, and advertisers are just as interested in how many people have seen their ads -- commercial ratings -- as they are in which programs generate the biggest audiences. The tight scatter market just adds to that pile of concerns.

"Anytime you come off a year where you potentially had to pay high prices, it's just like gas right now -- you're just a little bit shell-shocked that things are priced that high," said Christi Korzekwa, senior director of media at the Home Depot.

Most upfront players believe many marketers moved some money earmarked for scatter into the upfront, a move that might buoy upfront volume but could bode ill for the networks' overall 52-week take.

NBC secured $1.9 billion, up from $1.8 billion last year. ABC expects to secure about $2.5 billion this year, compared with $2.4 billion last year. CBS has secured about $2.5 billion in ad commitments, up from the estimated $2.45 billion it notched last year. The CW secured between $350 million and $375 million in ad commitments, down from last year's range of $630 million to $650 million. News Corp.'s Fox was able to secure at least $1.95 billion to $2 billion in ad commitments. Fox secured about $1.9 billion in last year's upfront. The network totals represent between $9.2 billion and $9.28 billion, compared with last year's approximate total of about $9.1 billion.

Based on conversations with ad buyers and other savvy executives, here's how some of the bigger ad-spending categories played out during the broadcast upfront.

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Contributing: Natalie Zmuda
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