Top execs upbeat about upfronts

Moonves, Iger, Dauman tout strength of ad market

The TV advertising industry is thriving, three CEOs told Wall Street analysts Wednesday.

CBS chief Les Moonves said he's seeing "a very strong marketplace" with a variety of sectors stepping up their ad buys, Disney topper Bob Iger called the upfront market "good," and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman called it "pretty good."

All three were addressing questions about the health of TV advertising posed to them during the 26th annual Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference.

"We are optimistic," Dauman said of the upfronts, "and we also think the scatter market will continue to show strength."

Moonves again hailed retransmission fees as a boon to network TV.

"Where the viewers go is where the money should go," he said, not that he expects CBS to approach the $4-a-sub fee ESPN gets anytime soon.

Moonves also said he doesn't expect the pay TV services to pass along new network retransmission fees to their customers.

Paul Bond reported from Los Angeles; Georg Szalai reported from New York.