It isn't clear what kind of price increases Viacom is seeking in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, but media buyers said the company, like last year, has shown some flexibility in order to drive deal volume.
A spokesman for Viacom declined to comment on the pace of negotiations.
This comes as Viacom's ad revenue begins to stabilize and ratings at Nickelodeon, Nick at Night, BET and Comedy Central post improvements. MTV's ratings, however, declined by 11% in the first quarter among 18-to-34 year-olds, its core demographic.
Viacom's early movement may not be an indicator for the rest of the marketplace, according to media buyers. The new programming presented by flagships like MTV and VH1 have not struck advertisers as must-buy inventory, they said. "Viacom doesn't move the market," said one, adding that negotiations will likely begin in earnest at the Big Four broadcasters this week.