CBS, ABC Upfront Ad Haul Unchanged, But Rates Rise (Report)

4:07 AM PST 06/13/2012 by Georg Szalai

Though weak demand has meant less inventory was sold, price increases roughly meet expectations.

CBS Corp.'s CBS network and Walt Disney's ABC have wrapped up their upfront advertising sales with a revenue haul roughly on par with last year's, but at higher prices, the Wall Street Journal reported.

They are the first major broadcast networks to wrap up their upfront deals following the CW, which finished last week.

CBS wrapped up roughly $2.7 billion in ad commitments, only slightly above last year's $2.65 billion haul, according to the Journal.

The top-rated network sold less of its ad inventory in the upfront, but at higher prices. The network had targeted price increases of around 10 percent. The Journal quoted ad buyers as saying they mostly paid prices that were up in the high single digits, with some agreeing to the targeted 10 percent increases.

ABC reached about $2.5 billion in upfront commitments, virtually unchanged from last year, the Journal also said citing a person familiar with the situation. It won ad rate increases of about 6-7 percent, it added.

News Corp.'s Fox and Comcast Corp.'s NBC still have several upfront deals to finalize, but are expected to also wrap up upfront business this week.

The upfront results so far suggest the overall broadcast upfront revenue haul could come in at the low end of Wall Street projections for low to mid-single digit improvements, according to the Journal.

Networks seem to hope that by holding back inventory for the "scatter" market of last-minute ad buys, they will once again get higher prices in that market than in the upfront.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai
 

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