Univision is the latest broadcast network to close out its upfront sales, two weeks after the final English-language broadcaster, ABC, wrapped up. Univision saw CPM gains of 5%-6% a source close to the network says, in the same range as Fox and the CW. That’s about the same as last year, buyers say, though the network sold a lot more total volume, up 17% over 2012. That was the second-biggest gain for any broadcast network, behind only NBC.
$19 billion in booked ad dollars leads to a 30% value hike. TV company shares were stellar through May then pulled back, briefly it turned out, as investors worried about the economy in general and how lower primetime ratings last season would impact the upfront. “The upfront sends a message about the health of the market. As long as corporate profits are moving in the right direction, the upfronts do fine,” said Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh.. They did.
TV analysis say that the medium’s ability to reach $9.5 billion in advance ad contracts seems less certain.
For the Big Five, at least, with ABC becoming the final network to close, winning CPM gains in the high single digits. Overall it was a lackluster session .
ABC has wrapped its upfront sales effort, according to a person familiar with the network, the last big broadcast outlet to do so in what has been perhaps the most protracted session since recession-wracked 2009. Buyers estimate ABC has secured slightly fewer advance advertising commitments than it did in 2012.
NBC’s financial fortunes are perking up, with advertisers agreeing to pay rate increases of 7% to 8% over last year’s prices during the annual summer sales bazaar. In the last few days, NBC executives finished selling their advertising time for the upcoming 2013-14 television season, hauling in roughly $2.1 billion in total commitments for primetime, a person familiar with the negotiations said today.
We hear that traditional programmers — broadcast, cable, and syndication — are still doing upfront business. (Aren’t we almost in August?) Their efforts are yielding nice but ho-hum, mid-single-digit percentage increases over last year. (Hard-fought, no doubt). But now another upfront is coming — in September! Pushed by none other than AOL, it will occur during Advertising Week. AOL wants some 150 advertisers and big-time digital platforms to strike deals for its “programmatic upfront.”
According to media buyers, the Discovery networks (a collective that includes the flagship channel, as well as TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery) enjoyed another profitable upfront, booking CPM increases between 6% and 8% while boosting dollar volume by 5%.
ABC has finished up, and NBC is almost sold out, weeks after CBS, Fox and the CW wrapped. Univision is nearing the end with volume up 17%.
Disney XD, Disney Channel and Disney Jr. networks saw a bump of 25% in total dollars over last year, likely because of new network Disney Jr., and because of improbable ratings juggernaut Doc McStuffins. Rarely do TV series premieres clock 1.08 million demo viewers at 9 a.m. — rarer still when the demo is kids ages 2-5. A source puts the overall CPM rise at an average of 6% above the industry average.
Fox Cable Networks has completed its upfront sales process, another indication that advertisers are giving stronger consideration to cable this year as they continue to question prices offered by some broadcasters. Fox Cable saw the volume of advance ad commitments to its suite of cable networks increase, according to a person familiar with the situation.
This year’s broadcast upfront has drawn out nearly twice as long as last year’s. Three networks (CBS, Fox and the CW) have been sold out for more than a week. But ABC and NBC are slogging along, more than three weeks after negotiations began. In fact, it’s possible that Univision, which has sold out more than three-quarters of its inventory so far, will wrap up before the English-language networks.
In a potential signal that advertisers may be placing additional funds at cable networks in the coming TV season, Time Warner’s Turner unit expects ad-dollar commitments at its TBS, TNT, TruTV and Adult Swim cablers to increase in this year’s upfront market, according to a person familiar with the situation.
ABC isn’t budging on pricing, one buyer said, even if that turns out to mean selling less time now and trying its luck later.
Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has kept pace with its English-language competitors in the current upfront market and expects to close with increased ad-dollar volume.
Fox, which suffered a primetime ratings free-fall during the just completed TV season, has closed out its upfront advertising sales with its total haul falling short of last year’s auction. Despite its ratings woes, Fox was able to hike its ad rates by 5% to 7% for primetime commercials for the 2013-14 season, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Fox secured commitments from advertisers totaling $1.75 billion to $1.8 billion, which represents about an 8% decline from its year-ago amount.
NBC is on course to land a volume increase in the upfront as inventory is packaged with other NBCUniversal properties, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Bundling is such that every primetime buyer so far has made a package deal, which is in line with the company’s go-to-market strategy.
News Corp.’s Fox network expects to complete its upfront sales effort with volume about 10% lower than it was in 2012, according to a person familiar with the situation, the result of ratings declines at the network as its flagship property, American Idol starts to show signs of wear.
After a quick start to TV’s annual upfront negotiations, talks seem to be stuck in a slowdown. Aside from The CW, which completed its upfront sales process last Wednesday, the broadcast networks have hit an unexpected wall with advertisers that lasted all last week, according to media buyers and analysts familiar with negotiations. The crux of the issue is there is less money in the marketplace than networks originally expected, according to buyers, who say the tone of negotiations is different than in years prior. “The pace is significantly slower than last year,” one buyer said. “I don’t think much business has been done at all.”
CBS is virtually done with its upfront sales. The top-rated network’s haul is expected to be comparable to last year’s $2.5 billion-$2.7 billion, as is the share of the inventory offered, about 77%-78%. The network scored high-single-digit CPM increases in the 7.5% range.
The network, home to series like The Vampire Diaries, secured ad rate increases around 5% to 6% for time in the new season.
After making a number of deals last week, upfront negotiations for the Big Four have ground to a halt as buyers and networks haggle over pricing. Buyers entered this upfront insisting that they would not cave to the higher CPM increases that the Big Four were chasing, citing disappointment over this season’s weak new shows and big ratings declines for top programs like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.
The annual ad-sales frenzy during which the nation’s TV outlets attempt to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming year is turning out to be anything but. While it’s true Viacom’s cable nets and the Fox broadcast outlet have begun to write business with advertisers, those players opted to press for price increases that are de minimis, according to ad buyers. But their rivals have not, and that has proved to be a sticking point with advertisers.
It looks as though analysts’ projections are correct: The networks aren’t winning the same CPM gains that they did last season. Fox and ABC have both begun their upfront negotiations, buyers say, and both are agreeing to lower CPM percentage increases than they did last year, when Fox saw gains of 8% to 9% and ABC saw 6%-7% gains. Both networks are still negotiating with a number of agencies, but they’ve finished up some of their deals.
In what appears to be a simulacrum of last year’s orderly upfront bazaar, Fox and ABC have started writing deals with some of the major media agencies. And while both networks are believed to be the furthest along in the process, every broadcast sales chief is currently engaged in discussing budgets and pricing with buyers. While the numbers remain fuzzy, sources on Wednesday said that Fox is looking for CPM increases that are in line with the 8% gains it secured during the 2012-13 bazaar.
Fox has started to secure ad commitments as part of this year’s upfront negotiations, according to a person close to the network.
While there’s not been any substantial movement in the broadcast upfront market yet, a few of the cable players are already deep in negotiations: Viacom has worked its way through a handful of agencies, and sources confirmed that NBCUniversal is pushing USA Network’s off-net pickup Modern Family, asking as much as 25% over the previous timeslot occupant, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The African American-focused diginet Bounce TV today announced its first slate of upfront programming plans, including original new scripted and non-scripted series, series renewals, the return to broadcast television of one of the most-popular game shows in history, an exclusive new college sports rights deal and more theatrical motion pictures for its library. Bounce TV’s […]
The networks, citing strong shows like Modern Family and The Walking Dead, don’t want to begin talks with last year’s prices.
Broadcasters are more frequently embracing the cable TV idea of limited run series, of taking favorites off the air for a time instead of showing reruns, and of not treating summer as an afterthought.
Of the Big Four network honchos, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves is the only one who still seems to know how to program to mass audiences, even if it is a dwindling mass, and believes in what he is doing. Broadcasting has no greater or more ardent champion. This TV season, Moonves and CBS were finally rewarded for their single-minded commitment to broadcasting by capturing the 18-49 demo crown.
Major announcements from Fox Hispanic Media executives kicked off Wednesday’s upfront presentations.
A look back at what television executives offered Madison Avenue for the 2013-14 season.
Broadcast and cable networks tout cross-platform products aplenty, from Watch ABC to CW Seed.
So now that the major broadcast networks have announced which new scripted shows will grace their fall schedules, what are their prospects? If the past four years are any indication, about 33% of scripted series will make it to a second season, 25% to a third season and 20% to a fourth.
“Our overwhelming impression is this: the more we see of the broadcast lineups, the more excited we get — about the cable lineups,” says Todd Juenger of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
In introducing new programs, broadcast networks and cable channels are showing a willingness to imitate their competitors’ successes.
Like last fall, the CW is introducing three new series this fall — The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, costume drama Reign and sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People — with three more series — dramas The 100; Star-Crossed; and reality show Famous In 12, from the TMZ team — on tap for midseason. For a second year in a row, the CW will hold its fall launches until October
Find out what’s on when and against what and get ready to set your DVRs for the 2013-14 viewing season.