TV Upfront Commitments Drop for First Time in Five Years
This story first appeared in the Aug. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Now that television upfront deals for the 2014-15 season nearly are complete, it's clear that both broadcast and cable networks collectively have dropped for the first time since the recession-stifled 2009-10 season. Total primetime commitments are down 6.2 percent compared with last season to $18.13 billion, according to consulting firm Media Dynamics Inc.
STORY NBC Completes Upfront Commitments
Broadcast fared the worst, down 7.7 percent, while cable fell 4.7 percent. For cable, that marks the first drop after a four-year growth spurt. Still, CPMs (cost-per-thousand viewers) are increasing -- as much as 8 percent for NBC, which was No. 1 last season in the 18-to-49 demo and has the Super Bowl in 2015. NBC is the only network to not post a loss this selling season, booking $2.52 billion in commitments — a 12 percent jump from the prior year.
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One trend that should please broadcast and cable execs is a strong upfront debut for live-plus-7 buys. After years making deals based solely on live-plus-3 ratings currency, this upfront market drew an estimated 24 percent of its commitments from so-called "C7" buys. That means advertisers finally are warming to the networks' years-old pitch to take seven additional days of playback into account when buying space.