NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ABC has become the latest network to complete upfront sales, as improved advertiser demand for broadcast TV helped it, like the networks that concluded upfront sales before it, sell more time in its upcoming fall schedule and at significantly higher prices.
ABC saw sales volume for programming across all dayparts increase to about $2.4 billion, according to a person familiar with the situation, excluding sales for sports that run on ABC in prime time, which are sold by Walt Disney sibling ESPN. ABC's volume figures may be somewhat inflated in comparison to those of other networks, because ABC is including daytime and late-night ad commitments along with those for prime time. Other networks typically report commitments for prime-time only.
Given the lack of apples-to-apples comparison, it's conceivable that ABC's total volume for prime-time might hover somewhere near flat. Last year, ABC received approximately $2.1 billion in ad commitments for its prime-time fall schedule, according to Ad Age estimates.
ABC was able to secure price increases of between 8% and 9% in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, according to this person as well as executives at media-buying companies who were familiar with upfront negotiations. ABC sold approximately 75% to 80% of its inventory across all dayparts; other networks have moved about the amount of their prime-time inventory. That's more than the networks sold in last year's upfronts, when they held back inventory in hopes that they could get better prices once the economy improved.
The Walt Disney network runs programs such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Dancing With the Stars," and will be looking to find a hit to replace "Lost," which recently completed its final season. ABC's ratings for the season just concluded have fallen from the season a year before.
CBS, Fox and the CW have all said they saw the volume of advertiser commitments to their programming increase.
NBC is expected to complete its upfront talks sometime this week.