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(June 26, 2001) -- Viacom's CBS has endured a price meltdown.

After company President-COO Mel Karmazin repeatedly insisted the network would not make upfront deals with a cost-per-thousand decrease from last year's prices, CBS has begun making some deals with CPM decreases in the 2% to 5% range, industry executives said.

Industry executives also said CBS is barely at the $500 million to $600 million level for its total upfront take so far.The executives said CBSrepresentatives have told themthey have sold 50% of their targeted upfront inventory.

ACBS spokesman denied that the network is trimming prices.

"We haven't made price concessions," he said.He alsodeclined todiscuss CBS' total upfronthaul.

Like competitors ABC and NBC, CBS's upfront take will likely fall far short of its 2000intake -- far less than $1.6 billion in CBS's case. The network started selling inventory after the other networks due to Mr. Karmazin's holdout.

Executives estimated that CBS's take thus far includes$65 million from the prime-time networkaspect of the Procter & Gamble/Viacom Plus deal and another $100 million-plus for deals with itssuccessful reality series Survivor. -- Wayne Friedman and David Goetzl

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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