Fox Completes Primetime Upfront Ad Sales

The network, the first to conclude its dealmaking, said it saw "significant growth in both volume and pricing," which brought its total haul to about $2 billion mark.

NEW YORK - Fox made it official Thursday afternoon, saying it has become the first broadcast network to complete its upfront advertising deals, and its haul is believed to amount to around $2 billion.

Oberservers had expected that Fox - as it had done last year - would lead the way with activity at other networks expected to step up now.

"With the strength and stability of our schedule and the exciting addition of The X Factor and our other new series, Fox has concluded its primetime upfront sales, achieving significant growth in both volume and pricing, consistent with our position as the number one network," the network said in a statement. 

It didn't detail the size of ad rate increases, but observers believe Fox's prices were on average up slightly more than 10 percent over last year, compared with high single digit percentage gains last year.

Fox's total upfront ad commitments also rose about 10 percent to 11 percent to around $2 billion, compared with $1.8 billion-$1.9 billion last year. The network sold around 80 percent of its ad inventory, sources said.

UBS analyst John Janedis had on Wednesday estimated that Fox decided to sell its primetime ad inventory for the 2011/2012 season in the upfront at price increases of around 10 percent.

"As first mover, Fox apparently went for volume versus maximizing price increases (upcoming new shows such as X Factor play a role in this decision)," Janedis said in a report. "We believe this could limit the [price] increase available for ABC/CBS given the typical pricing differential between the top two or three nets."

CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves had said earlier on Thursday that whatever price increases Fox was going for, CBS would seek strong double-digit gains in the upfront, A source said it has been asking for 18 percent price hikes.

Movie ad dollars are typically key for Fox, according to AdWeek. Media executives have said that retailers and other marketers also went into the upfront ready to spend.

Fox also succeeded in selling ad packages combining a show's TV and online presence, according to a source.


Twitter: @georgszalai

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