CBS Close to Finalizing Upfront Deals

Courtesy of WBTV
CBS' 'Supergirl'

"As we near the finish line, we feel confident that when the upfront marketplace comes to a close, CBS will have secured more total dollars — and the highest pricing — of all the broadcast networks,” said the network.

CBS is close to selling out its upfront inventory, say sources with knowledge of the networks’ sales efforts.

CBS is expected to be down slightly from the $2.6 billion in upfront commitments it secured last year. However, the network has secured CPM (the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers) increases in the mid-single digits, from 3 to 5 percent, say sources. And a CBS spokesperson released a statement pointing out that the most-watched network expects to bring in the biggest upfront haul among broadcasts Big 4.

"As we near the finish line, we feel confident that when the upfront marketplace comes to a close, CBS will have secured more total dollars — and the highest pricing — of all the broadcast networks," said the network’s statement. "Agencies and clients continue to value the strength, stability and delivery that our schedule provides, and are increasingly committing dollars against C7. Looking ahead, Thursday Night Football and our new late night lineup will help us build on our number one position and bode well for us throughout the year."

CBS' NFL package, which also included highly-rated Sunday afternoon games, is not part of the net's upfront sales efforts. Rather, those packages are sold by the CBS Sports sales team.Thursday Night Football averaged 12.3 million viewers last season on CBS (which had eight games) and the NFL Network.

Last year, the five English-language broadcast networks secured just under $9 billion in upfront commitments with cable locking down $9.6 billion, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. Both of those numbers were down year-over-year as buyers shifted more dollars to digital and linear TV felt the ratings pinch of streaming and time shifting.

A preponderance of buys were written on C7 — commercial ratings with seven days of delayed viewing — last year when Group M, which controls more than $70 billion in global ad spending, threw its might behind the metric long touted by the networks as a more equitable measurement than current industry standard C3.

CBS will bow two new comedies and three new dramas in the fall including the DC Comics-based Supergirl, an out-of-the-box swing for the network known for crime procedurals. 

The network finished last season as the most watched on television averaging 11.3 million viewers, an increase of 5 percent year-over-year. Among those viewers advertisers pay the most to reach — those in the 18-49 demographic — CBS was only one-tenth of a rating point behind No. 1 NBC, which was aided by the Super Bowl last season.

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