TV Upfront

Viacom Midway Done With Upfront Negotiations

Owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central is 50% Done With TV Ad Bargaining

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Viacom has completed deals for 50% of the ad inventory it intends to offer as part of this year's upfront negotiations for the upcoming TV season, according to media buyers familiar with the marketplace and a person close to the company.

MTV's 'Awkward'
MTV's 'Awkward'

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.

Last year that strategy allowed Viacom to secure early deals with Unilever and General Motors. At the time, GM had been arguing for price rollbacks from broadcast networks.

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.

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