What slump? Nets get more at upfronts

Networks get $9.23 billion in ad commitments

With ABC, Fox and CBS wrapping their upfront sales Monday, the final broadcast networks tally is in.

The Big Five nets will get $9.23 billion in upfront commitments this year, up 1.2% from last year's $9.12 billion.

The total includes the CW network giving up $190 million in primetime revenue by syndicating out its Sunday night for next season. For the Big Four, the total is $8.85 billion, up 3.5%.

ABC will take in $2.5 billion in primetime ad revenue, including primetime sports telecasts, up $100 million from last year. ABC sold between 80-85% of its primetime inventory, about 3% more than last year, at an average CPM increase of 9%.

ABC sales president Mike Shaw said that while more inventory was sold in the upfront, he held back a good number of ad spots in the more high-demand ABC shows. He said there was demand in just about every ad category and he saw no advertiser that spent less than last year, with some increasing their upfront spending.

"This just proves how well broadcast advertising works," Shaw said.

CBS will also take in about $2.5 billion in primetime, up by $50 million from last year, but that total does not include the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships. The network sold 80-85% of its primetime inventory, up a few percentage points over last year, averaging 8% CPM increases.

One particularly strong category for CBS was pharmaceuticals, which was heavy in scatter this past season and saw many companies move dollars into the upfront for next season.

Fox will take in about $1.95 billion, slightly more than last year, raking in CPM increases of 9-10% from last year.

Fox officials were mum on the network's upfront tally beyond issuing a statement: "Fox has concluded our primetime upfront sales at volume and pricing levels consistent with the No. 1 network." Fox headed to the upfront marketplace as the top broadcast network in total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 18-34.

Additionally, Fox got larger increases -- in the low double digits -- for packages that included some Remote Free TV ad inventory. Fox is testing the concept -- running a reduced number of commercials -- on two new dramas for next season, "Fringe" and "The Dollhouse," and was reportedly getting as much as 40% premiums for ads in those shows.

NBC will take in $1.9 billion, up from $1.8 billion, and sold about 80% of its inventory, about 4% more than last year, at 5% CPM increases.

The CW took in about $380 million in primetime upfront dollars, down from $570 million last year, primarily because the network gave up programming on five hours of Sunday night. The CW averaged 8% CPM increases for its Monday-Friday inventory.
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