Don’t expect marketers to get into a panic over the current stock market gyrations — not even taking the rare and drastic measures to alter the current in-process upfront TV buys. The TV upfront market ended in June with advertising making “commitments” to networks. Typically, those deals, virtually 100% of the time, go to “order” in late August/early September. Lee Doyle, CEO of Group M’s media agency unit MEC North America, says technically the “window isn’t closed” in adjusting TV upfront buys. But so far, he has no sign that TV advertisers want to cut back on proposed deals.
After a frenzied selling season that saw top-tier cable network groups writing price increases of as much as 15%, the final tally for the 2011-12 upfront is in. At the risk of trafficking in a vast form of understatement, business was a-boomin’. According to calculations made by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, ad-supported cable nets took in $9.29 billion in upfront commitments, making this the most lucrative sell-off in history.
Univision Communications, the largest Spanish language network in the United States, has completed its sale of commercial time ahead of the 2011-12 season with a total volume estimated to be between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion.
The upfront ended with the Big 5 English-language broadcast networks moving $9.2 billion in commercial time. That’s less than the $9.5 billion they were expected to net, but about 4.5% more than the $8.8 billion they took in last year. And, as a testimony to the strong marketplace, syndicators completed all of their ad selling simultaneously with the broadcasters, which is not usually the case. The syndication market took in about $200 million more than last year, jumping about 10% overall from $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion.
The network averaged 11% to 12% price increases for $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion in commitments, according to industry estimates.
The CW has completed its upfront sales process, notching between $400 million and $420 million in ad commitments from marketers for its coming TV season, according to a person familiar with the situation. That’s a CPM increase of 10%-12%.
NBC has begun writing “upfront” business in earnest, the last of the big broadcast networks to get under way in this year’s haggling, while Time Warner’s Turner has begun feeling out the marketplace with an initial but aggressive bid for pricing. NBC had been holding back in the marketplace, according to ad-buying executives, trying to see if it could secure CPM increases in tandem with the lower end of the range notched by rival networks.
The CW is poised to complete its upfront selling by the of day Friday, garnering an average price increase for primetime ad inventory of 11 percent over last year, persons familiar with the negotiations say. At the same time, CBS has began doing primetime sales deals with increases in the 14% range. And ABC was said to be doing some early primetime deals averaging 11% and has completed business with one major media agency, who sources would not identify.
CBS is starting to make some upfront prime-time advertising deals at low- to mid-teen price increases — down off initial 18% pricing, according to media executives. No word to how much has been sold as yet. CBS started making deals late on Thursday night.
With Fox having finished its primetime upfront advertising sales, Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce on Friday slightly lowered his predictions for the kind of upfront sales price increases that ABC and NBC will fetch.
Fox on Thursday said that it had concluded its primetime upfront advertising sales, but buyers were taking their time with the other broadcast networks. Fox said that by adding the new competition show The X Factor to a strong and stable schedule, it was able to achieve “significant growth in both volume and pricing, consistent with our position as the number one network.”
ABC and CW have been active in making some media agency upfront deals — following Fox’s move, now nearly completing its TV upfront market sales process. ABC, running on the heels of broadcast leader Fox, has been making media agreements with CPM increases in the 9% to 10% range, according to media agency executives.
CBS is pushing against advertisers’ stance that they shouldn’t be paying solid double-digit increases for TV time in the fall. The Tiffany Network is making an initial request for price hikes around 18% in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, a measure common in haggling over “upfront” TV time that is also known as a CPM, according to media buyers. The figure may raise an eyebrow, given that rival Fox, moving toward completion in its upfront talks, has opted to settle for significantly smaller increases.
Two networks — Fox and ABC — were interested in moving the upfront market late this week, according to media-buying executives. The major networks have been putting in long nights over the last several days to firm up their pricing. Media buyers say Fox is initially asking 14% increases on the cost-per-thousand viewers. That comes with the understanding of Fox’s goal: to get at least 11% to 12% closing price increases.
The upfront advertising market got rolling Thursday night as Fox cut deals with many of the major agencies, according to multiple sources in the market. The sources said Fox got price increases on the low end of double digits.
This year’s upfront, however, was nearly surprise free. The networks did gravitate toward comedy more heavily than in the past, but that trend has been developing gradually over the years. Lisa Quan, VP and director of audience analysis at Magna Global, talks about this year’s upfront presentations, what the big themes are for fall and what makes for a good upfront.
The networks’ upfront presentations to advertisers are over — now the haggling begins. Fox was the first of the Big Five English-language broadcasters last year to wrap up its business, and is likely to be first again. That means its negotiations will set the pricing levels for the other networks.
The broadcast networks, hoping to appeal to women viewers, have female leads in most of the 10 new comedies rolling out this fall. But all the shows aren’t necessarily empowering.
The tensest time in the TV industry is nearly behind us.That’s because the big broadcast networks are nearly done rolling out their schedules for the 2011-12 TV season, trolling for advertisers in a mass schmoozeathon of glad handing and posturing known as the Upfronts. So let’s cap it all off with an exercise in what Hollywood loves most: keeping score. Based mostly on common sense and perusal of two-minute promotional clips for the new shows, here’s my short list who won and lost so far.
The CW’s fall schedule includes the new shows H8R, Hart of Dixie, The Secret Circle and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer, and a move to Tuesdays for 90210 and Fridays for Nikita. One Tree Hill will return in mid-season, and the new shows Re-Modeled and The Frame will debut.
With the NFL season in limbo and more than $3 billion in ads at stake, TV executives hawking their new lineups are seeking firm commitments from football marketers who might be tempted to call an audible come fall.
The Spanish-language giant will offer novelas, sports and news their own home. A closer partnership with Televisa means nearly 500 hours of new originals in 2011-12.
The Turner Broadcasting upfront presentation was besieged by technical problems Wednesday morning, leading a stream of advertisers to head for the exits.
Discovery said that its Hispanic properties — two cable channels, Discovery en Espanol and Discovery Familia — would benefit from a significant increase in the money to be spent on programming for all Discovery channels.
CBS announced its new 2011-12 primetime schedule today, ordering five new series and making key time-period moves for CSI and The Good Wife to strengthen its already top-rated primetime lineup.
With live sports gaining ratings and growing ad revenues, ESPN used its upfront presentation Tuesday to reinforce its position, introduce new shows, show off new technology and remind sponsors how it helps drive sales.
Telemundo confirmed at its upfront presentation on Tuesday what had been rumored for several months, that it has signed Cristina Saralegui, known as the Hispanic Oprah Winfrey, to do a prime time talk show beginning later this year. Saralegui for 21 years had hosted The Cristina Show on rival Hispanic broadcast network Univision, until the show was abruptly cancelled last November.
Ringer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, was originally developed by CBS which then passed it on to its sister network. The Secret Circle comes from The Vampire Diaries executive producer Kevin Williamson and Andrew Miller. Hart of Dixie re-teams The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz with star Rachel Bilson.
CBS decided the fate of two of its spinoff series today, canceling freshman drama Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and renewing CSI: NY for an eighth season.
Paul Lee, the network’s new entertainment president, is to unveil his first primetime schedule before hundreds of advertisers today to kick off the TV industry’s annual springtime sales bazaar.
The Spanish-language media company will invest nearly $20 million annually in its effort to educate and potentially land new marketers.
Donald Trump told an audience of NBC advertisers at the network’s upfront presentation in New York today that he’ll drop his potential presidential bid.
This morning the network introduced its fall lineup, and it looks to be Fox’s strongest fall schedule in years, thanks to the highly anticipated new shows The X Factor and Terra Nova. Fox will launch five new programs, including two nights of X Factor, which takes over American Idol‘s Wednesday and Thursday slot. The new programs include just one new drama, Nova, and three new comedies, which will be strategically spread throughout the week behind returning Fox hits so as to give them a strong lead-in and better chance at surviving.
Fox’s biggest bets for fall are two projects already in the works: Simon Cowell’s new singing contest, The X Factor, to inherit American Idol‘s time slots; and Terra Nova, an ambitious time-travel dinosaur adventure from Steven Spielberg that will likely follow House on Mondays.
Starting today, the Big Five broadcast networks will wine and dine and hopefully wow Madison Avenue and their clients, America’s biggest corporations, into committing ad dollars to their fall schedules. What’s new this year is there’ll be three rookies on stage: NBC’s Bob Greenblatt, ABC’s Paul Lee and The CW’s Mark Pedowitz. The networks will vie for firm commitments from ad agencies on roughly $9.2 billion in commercial time being offered over the next two weeks, which would be up nicely from last year’s nearly $8.4 billion in sales.
As network executives start to share with advertisers and agencies their schedules for 2011-12, ad revenue could grow by as much as $1 billion.
Acknowledging that last season’s new shows were a washout, the networks are promising something different.
The network has axed three freshman series ahead of its upfront presentation this week in New York.
Just three months after its new programming chief officially took over, mired-in-fourth-place NBC has unveiled a new primetime slate that been festooned with female-led series. On the other hand, NBC is relying on the behind- the-scenes production chops of Steven Spielberg, Lorne Michaels, Brian Grazer, Tom Werner, John Grisham and Peter Berg.
It’s official, there will be no sixth season of ABC’s family drama Brothers & Sisters. And V won’t return for a third season either. ABC made the calls today.