Cable collects benefits of solid upfront

Close to wrapping up advertising deals

With the broadcast TV upfront out of the way, cable is getting close to wrapping up its advertising deals.

Broadcast's strong upfront results has led to rising fortunes for cable as well, with high-single-digit increases in price and stronger volume.

"We're writing a lot more dollars and at good prices," Hallmark Channel ad sales chief Bill Abbott said.

Many of the networks reported being between 75% and 100% done with upfront negotiations.

USA Network and Sci Fi Channel as well as Turner Broadcasting were among the networks receiving price increases from 9%-10% over last year's upfront rates. Other networks are receiving 7%-9% price increases. Volume also is being reported as strong in the double digits.

"It's a very strong market across the board. It's been a seller's market," said a cable executive. "I think you're definitely seeing money shift from broadcast to cable."

Lifetime said its upfront selling was done Friday.

"Powered by the strength of our brand and programming, we are writing business with 9%-10% CPM increases and double-digit volume growth," Lifetime said.

A lot of kudos went to Turner, who in the marketplace insisted that it be treated like a broadcast network and largely succeeded.

"Turner did a great job at the start of the marketplace with establishing the value of cable and really holding to a double-digit number and getting the value they deserve for their primetime inventory," Abbott said.

USA and such other NBC Uni channels as Sci Fi and Bravo also held the line, while a handful of other networks did early deals in the mid-single digits for share.
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