TV Upfront

Upfront Update: ABC and CW Approach the Finish

More Players Move Toward Completion of Annual TV Marketplace

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This year's upfront marketplace for broadcast networks is moving further toward completion, with several executives from both sides of the bargaining table suggesting several TV players could wrap up their business by sometime next week.

With Fox already done with its negotiations, Walt Disney's ABC was said to be moving closer to the finish line, doing a good portion of its deals with a 10% increase in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, a metric also known as a CPM and a common measure in these negotiations. The CW, owned jointly by CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc., is nearly complete, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Fox wrote business with CPM increases of 9.5% to 12% over last year, according to people familiar with the situation; the bulk of deals came in with increases of 10% to 11%. The News Corp. network is believed to have secured advertiser commitments of $1.98 billion to $1.99 billion, more than the $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion it secured in 2010.

After making an initial bid for a price increase of 18%, CBS has begun to write some business at increases between 13% and 15%, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. One buying executive expressed skepticism, however, with the network's ability to secure even that level of price hike. Another buying executive had not heard of CBS writing business.

NBC continued to register budgets and talk with clients, according to ad buyers, but late in the week still had not begun doing significant transactions.