Turner Starts Doing Upfront Deals

Cable Market Should Hit Full Steam by Weekend

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Turner Broadcasting has begun completing upfront deals. With the major broadcast networks nearly done with their upfront sales, Turner's pacts with buying agencies including Magna Global signal that the cable market should be hitting full steam by the weekend.

A Turner spokesman declined to comment, but buyers said Turner is maintaining an aggressive stance on pricing, attempting to get increases at or above the 9% ABC has been earning in its upfront deals.

Originality, ratings in demand
Normally most big general-entertainment cable networks have to settle for increases that are slightly smaller than those the broadcasters get. But this year, demand is high for networks that have original programming and high enough ratings to replace prime-time broadcast TV in clients' media plans.

The bigger-than-expected price hikes attained by the broadcast networks also are pushing money to cable, buyers said.

In addition to Turner, a handful of other cable networks have made some deals, sales execs said, but those deals remain unconfirmed.

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Jon Lafayette is senior editor of TV Week.
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