Upfront 2010

CBS Wraps Upfront Sales

Network Notches $2.4B to $2.6B, Buyers Suggest; NBC, ABC to Close Imminently

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- CBS has wrapped up upfront sales for its 2010-2011 season, according to the network. CBS was able to secure a volume increase of somewhere in the high-teens-percentage range, according to a person familiar with the matter. NBC and ABC, meanwhile, are close to done if not already complete, according to media buyers familiar with the pace of negotiations.

CBS's total volume of ad commitments for the fall season should come to between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion, according to buyers and others familiar with the negotiations. Last year, CBS secured between $2.13 billion and $2.25 billion, according to Advertising Age estimates.

CBS is said to have nabbed price increases between 9% and 10% in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, according to media buyers, a common measure in these types of negotiations. During the upfront, TV networks typically sell between 70% and 80% of their ad inventory for the coming season. With advertisers demanding less time in 2009, CBS only sold around 65% of its inventory at the last year's upfront. This year, CBS's volume sold is expected to come in between 75% and 80%.

ABC and NBC were said to be nearing an end to their sales as well, with buyers suggesting ABC was securing price increases of 8% to 9%, and NBC securing increases of at least 7%.

Advertisers and Wall Street analysts anticipated a robust upfront session, but the figures coming out of the negotiations are eyebrow-raisers. Most ad buyers swore advertisers would not allow double-digit price increases on the books, hoping to keep price increases between 5% and 8%. But the increases that CBS has apparently secured at least graze the 10% mark. The pace of selling is also markedly different than that of last year, when buyers and sellers took months to complete their haggling as the roiling economy made advertisers hold tight to their purse strings.

The Fox and the CW network completed upfront sales last week, with Fox notching price increases of 8% to 9% to secure volume of between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, while the CW won increases averaging 7.5% and volume between $370 million and $404 million, according to Ad Age estimates. Last year, Fox secured between $1.72 billion and $1.76 billion in ad commitments, while CW secured between $308 million and $337 million.

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