TV Upfront

Fox Wraps Upfront Talks With Smaller Deal Volume Than Last Year

Network Secures Price Increases Between 5% and 7%

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Fox has essentially completed its upfront negotiations for ad time in the upcoming TV season, with the volume of dollars committed down about 10% from last year's talks, according to a person familiar with the network.

'Almost Human,' J.J. Abrams' forthcoming cop-android series
'Almost Human,' J.J. Abrams' forthcoming cop-android series Credit: Fox

Fox secured about $1.8 billion in upfront commitments, compared to as much as $1.99 billion in 2012, according to Ad Age estimates. Fox sold about 80% of its available inventory for the upcoming season, on par with years prior, but had fewer ratings points to sell this year, ending the season with a 22% decline in the key 18-to-49 demographic.

Fox was able to secure increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers of 5% to 7%, down from the 7% to 9% range it was able to secure last year.

CBS largely finished its upfront sales last week, securing ad commitments in line with the $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion it has secured in the prior two upfronts, according to a person familiar with the situation, aided by its new position as the No. 1 network among 18-to-49-year-olds. CBS secured increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, the industry metric known as a CPM, of 7% to 8% -- slightly below the 8%-to-9% hikes it got in the summer of 2012.

New shows on Fox this season include "Almost Human," J.J. Abrams' new robot-cop show, and "Sleepy Hollow," a modern-day version of the Headless Horseman story. Returning series include "The Following," the Kevin Bacon drama, and "New Girl," the Zooey Deschanel comedy.

UPDATE: NBC Universal, which has gone to market selling its entire portfolio of broadcast, cable and digital assets together, is nearing the final stages of upfront negotiations, having already secured ad commitments from major agencies, according to a person familiar with the matter and media buyers.

The Peacock network is securing increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers between 7% and 8%. It also garnered price hikes for major cable networks like USA Network and Bravo around 8% to 9%, according to the person and buyers.

While it is believed NBC's total volume of deals is up from last year, by how much remains a questions. It is also unclear how much inventory NBC is making available during negotiations. NBC secured about $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion in last year's upfront, according to Ad Age estimates and CPMs in the range of 8% to 9%.

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