CBS Close to Completing Upfront Sales

The Millers Arnett Bridges Martindale - H 2013

The Millers Arnett Bridges Martindale - H 2013

The top-rated network books about $2.65 million in upfront commitments for the 2013-14 season.

CBS is close to selling out its upfront inventory, the first of the Big Four to do so. The top-rated network -- which finished the season at No. 1 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic for the first time in more than 20 years -- realized CPM (cost per thousand viewer) increases in the high-single-digit range, with about 7.5 percent on average compared to last year's increases of 8-9 percent. Nevertheless, volume was flat compared to last year at about $2.65 billion.

CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves predicted that the network’s CPM increases would be in the “low double digits.” And he told investors during a conference call in early May that the CBS sales team would be “very aggressive” in the upfront marketplace.

“I can say with absolute confidence that we will once again lead the marketplace in both pricing and volume,” he said.

But many analysts have predicted that the total haul for the broadcast networks would be down from last year’s $9.25 billion.

Earlier this week, The CW became the first broadcast network to wrap upfront sales with about $400 million in volume -- also flat year-over-year. 

With How I Met Your Mother heading into its final season, CBS has made replenishing its comedy coffers a priority in 2013-14. And the network's new comedies, including Greg Garcia's The Millers starring Will Arnett and Margo Martindale, have been well-received by media buyers.