UPFRONT MARKET FOR DAYTIME, NEWS BREAKS;SALES THERE COULD TOP $1 BILLION; PRIME-TIME SET TO MOVE THIS WEEK

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The network daytime and news upfront markets broke late last week, spoiling some media buyers' plans for a four-day holiday weekend.

By late Friday, about two-thirds of the daytime upfront market was expected to have gone.

"It never ceases to amaze me," said one media buyer. "This year, daytime network should be about $1 billion to $1.2 billion. And look how quickly all that money moves."

DAYTIME LEADERS: ABC, CBS

The daytime leaders are CBS and ABC. ABC was writing business with costs per thousand averaging about 3% under what it was writing last year. CBS was up by about the same percentage. New to the market this year is Fox, which has entered the daytime fray with a single show, "Fox After Breakfast," debuting Aug. 12.

NBC lags in daytime ratings but will add a new daytime soap opera from Aaron Spelling next season.

The big unknown is how much money is leaving daytime syndicated talk shows for the networks.

If the daytime syndicated talk market is $200 million to $225 million, as much as $50 million of that might go to the networks, one media executive estimated.

On the news side, early morning at NBC and ABC seemed the hot buys.

PRIME-TIME TO COME

The network prime-time upfront market should start to break this week.

Based on plans they have received from agencies and media independents, network executives are predicting a prime-time upfront market of about $5.3 billion, just shy of last year's $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion. But with NBC in the catbird seat rather than ABC this year, most buyers and sellers are predicting a more orderly upfront compared to last year's frenzy.

Still, at least one seller said, "I think people will be surprised at how quickly things will go this year."

Both Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, are said to have done early deals with ABC and perhaps CBS.

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