CBS CFO: Net may hold back ad spots

Ianniello bullish on network's outlook for ad upfront market

NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. CFO Joe Ianniello on Monday once again touted the CBS network's positioning ahead of the broadcast network upfront next week and said it will hold back advertising spots if it doesn't get the ad price increases it is looking for.

He also lauded the depth and breadth of the advertising recovery.

Speaking at the Jefferies 6th Global Internet, Media & Telecom Conference, Ianniello was asked if he is comfortable that CBS can get double-digit percentage ad rate gains in the upfront.
Given that current scatter ad prices are up 25%-plus over last year's upfront, the CFO said another way to look at this is that double digit price gains in this year's upfront would be a chance for marketers to get ads at a discount to current scatter market prices. "Tell me what's unreasonable about that," he said.

"They should get as much as they can and lock it in," Ianniello said about what upfront strategy advertisers should pursue. That said, "we got to get the pricing we want. We'll hold back (inventory) if needed" if pricing is too low, he added.

Asked about the ad recovery, the CBS CFO said two of its characteristics have been very encouraging. "One, the pace of it, and two, the breadth of it," he summarized.

Biggest hit in the recession were smaller local advertisers, but they have been coming back. Similarly, rising ad spending is seen across many sectors - from auto makers, dealers and movie studios to financial services.

"We're poised for some solid growth" amid this recovery, Ianniello said, citing an expanding ad pie and CBS Corp.'s hope to take market share.
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