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CBS Wraps Up Upfront Sales Boasting Pricing Advantage Over Peers

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 11:13am PDT

cbs8The network says it nears the finish line “very confident that CBS has once again achieved the highest pricing and most total dollars” in sales of prime time ads for the season that begins this fall. The tally does not include the NFL games CBS will air on Thursday nights for several weeks; they’re being sold separately. In addition to the overall sales, the company adds in a rare public statement about the upfronts that it has made progress in selling ads based on the number of eyeballs they reach over seven days (known as C7), up from the conventional three days (C3) — a major issue for CEO Les Moonves. The C7 calculation “is now playing a meaningful part in our negotiations.”

The network didn’t offer specific numbers to support its claim. People tracking the market say CBS has been able to raise per-viewer prices for its ads by about 6% vs last year, when it generated an estimated $2.5B+. If correct, then that’s about twice the rate of its rivals outsiders estimate. But it’s hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons as deals include options for cable and digital properties. The overall market is said to be weaker than expected with some advertisers holding back in the hope of landing better terms later in the season.

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Upfront Sales Palooza Begins

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 11:33am PDT

TVwithMoneyInItMFox and CBS have started to write upfront business. Movie studios moved first, sources say; that’s typical with Fox, owing to its ratings with young men who movie studios covet/target.  CPM increases are lower than last year (last year’s range hovered in 5-7% territory), but no specific numbers are in yet.

TV ad buyers are creatures of habit. Every year, they take the week after the broadcast upfront presentations to mull over the networks’ new offerings and confer with clients, take off Memorial Day weekend and then start to get in the swing of the things.

For reference purposes, Fox, which kicked off last year’s upfront deal-making, as it had the past few years before that, and pretty much had wrapped its upfront ad sales by June 12, securing increases in that 5-7% range in a tough year — and this year’s sales will only be tougher for the network.  Its total volume last year was down 10% from 12′s just-under-$2-billion, which was understandable given the network’s ratings declines back then. Fox sold about 80% of its ad inventory last year.

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CBS Urges Upfront Advertisers To Stick With The Winner

14th Annual AFI Awards - Red Carpet“Nobody on Earth brings more quality programs to audiences than we do,” CBS CEO Les Moonves told buyers today at his company’s annual Carnegie Hall presentation. The traditional media triumphalism provided a contrast with his rivals’ efforts this week to talk up corporate synergies and Upfronts2014_badge__140505214755digital initiatives — especially as tech powers including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL try to win dollars to online video. “Our friends in Silicon Valley are expanding from developing logarithms to developing television shows,” Moonves says. Following the tech NewFronts presentations, he added, “They used to call us OldFronts until they started doing exactly what we do.”

Despite the bravado, even CBS can’t ignore the growth of  – and advertiser interest in — online viewing. The CEO noted in passing “our ever-expanding digital and interactive business” and said “the best news for all of us is that every eyeball is being counted.” CBS Network Sales President Jo Ann Ross kicked off the event promising “custom multiplatform solutions” to reach people “where ever they are and whenever they are watching.” But the company provided no details.

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ABC Upfront Presentation Pitches Advertisers On Disney, Digital, And Data

Upfronts2014_badgeNot much change from last year in the basic business proposition that ABC offered to upfront advertisers today: Forget that it’s the No. 4 network in prime time for 18-to-49 year olds. Execs touted the “brand halo” (as entertainment chief Paul Lee put it) that Disney and its properties offer ABC. “When you bring them all together they are as unstoppable a force as The Force,” Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney said in a forced reference to the parent company’s acquisition of Star Wars creator Lucasfilm. Sales President Geri Wang and ESPN sales chief Ed Erhardt shared the stage to illustrate ways advertisers can mix and match appeals to women and men, for example via New Year’s programming on ABC and games on the sports network. Wang added that ABC offers more original programming than other networks which “creates great moments for your brands.”

Related: ABC 2014 Schedule: ‘Scandal’ Moves To 9 PM As Part Of Shonda Rhimes Thursday; ‘Black-ish’ Gets Post-‘Modern Family’ Slot

The network also talked up digital and data. Sweeney says the company will “continue to develop” its WATCH ABC app. It will offer opportunities to watch live broadcasts from multiple viewpoints, multitask on social media, and share clips with others. That can provide a “more integrated, immersive, personalized experience…..You get our passion for innovation and technology and the resources we put behind it, and the scope of our brand and the strength of our businesses.”

Related: Read More »

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CBS Hits Pause On Pre-Upfront Pickups

By | Monday May 13, 2013 @ 5:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

I hear CBS might be done ordering new series, at least until after its upfront presentation on Wednesday. The network already has picked up five comedy series and three dramas, including two pickups on Sunday, of drama Reckless and comedy Friends With Better Lives. I haven’t heard that any of the three remaining contenders — comedy Bad Teacher and dramas Backstrom and NCIS: Red — are dead, so pickup talks might continue after the upfront for what already is one of the largest CBS slates of new series in recent memory. (Additionally, CBS is in retool/reshoot conversations about comedy pilots The McCarthys and Jim Gaffigan) UPDATE: Rumor is that Red is dead.

Related: Which Pilots Are Still Alive At CBS?

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Chase Carey Says Broadcasters Need To Break Rules

By | Wednesday May 8, 2013 @ 2:58pm PDT

It isn’t the kind of thing a network exec wants to admit the week before broadcasters open the upfront ad sales season. But the News Corp COO, in a quarterly call with analysts, couldn’t avoid the fact that this season’s ratings declines show “it’s not been a great year for the broadcast business overall from a creative perspective.” Carey says it’s time for networks to “discard a few habits and rules and take some shots. Hopefully next week will be the beginning of that process.” While he didn’t offer specifics, he says one possibility is to “be a bit more targeted [in programming] and invest deeper—take fewer bets and bet deeper.” Carey acknowledged that as digital video becomes more popular “there’s no question there’ll be more and more choices and people will find those choices.” But the exec says he still has faith in broadcasting — as long as it can collect revenues from subscriptions as well as ad sales. He declined to offer more insight into his recent threat to make Fox a pay TV service if the courts jeopardize the dual revenue stream model. Some analysts say that could happen if justices agree that streaming service Aereo can distribute local over-the-air signals without paying broadcasters. “If that dual revenue stream is not available, there are other paths we can pursue,” Carey says. He adds that the “most exciting” opportunity for Hulu is to focus on boosting subscriptions. Broadcasters can add “original and other unique product” and “take advantage of its leadership position in the digital space.” Read More »

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2011 Upfronts Schedule & Party List

By | Thursday May 12, 2011 @ 8:42am PDT

UPDATED 2011 UPFRONTS SCHEDULE & PARTY LIST

Sunday, May 15
9:00 PM: UTA Upfronts Party
Location: Lavo, 39 E. 58th Street

Monday, May 16
11:00 AM: NBC Announcement (evite ticket)
Location: Hilton Hotel – 3rd Floor, 1335 Avenue of the Americas
Lunch to follow upfront – Location TBD

4:00 PM: FBC Announcement (evite ticket)
Location: The New Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway
After-party immediately following at Wollman Rink in Central Park

9:00 PM-1:00 AM: NBC Upfronts Party (evite ticket)
Location: Del Posto Ristorante, 85 10th Ave

Tuesday, May 17
4:00 PM: ABC Announcement (hard ticket get in LA)
Location: Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, 132 W. 65th St.
No after-party

7:00 PM: UEG Upfronts Party with Pharrell
Location: TenJune, 26 Little West 12th St

8:00 PM: Gersh Agency Upfronts Party
Location: James Hotel, 27 Grand Street

9:00 PM: Innovative Artists Upfronts Party
Location: Eventi Hotel, 851 Avenue Of The Americas

9:00 PM: WME Upfronts Dinner
Location: Peter Luger Steakhouse, 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY

9:00 PM-11:00 PM: ICM Upfronts Party
Location: Simyone Lounge, 409 West 14th St

Wednesday, May 18
10:00 AM: TNT/TBS Announcement (mailed ticket invite)
Location: Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St.
11:30 AM: Private lunch to follow upfront at Del Posto, 85 10th Avenue

4:00 PM: CBS Announcement (hard tickets)
Location: Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Ave.
After-party immediately following at The Tent at Lincoln Center
Location: Damrosch Park, W. 62nd St between Columbus & Amsterdam Aves

9:00 PM: Adult Swim Upfront Party (with Jay-Z performing)
Location: Roseland Ballroom, 239 W 52nd Street

Thursday, May 19
11:00 AM: CW Announcement
Location: Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center – 11th Floor, 33 W. 60th St.

3:00 PM: Univision Communications Upfront Presentation
Location: New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 West 42nd Street

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PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Early Buzz Edition

By | Wednesday April 20, 2011 @ 1:25am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Once again the broadcast upfronts are upon us. With less than a month until the five nets start to unveil their fall plans in New York, it’s time to begin our favorite guessing game of which pilots are likely to make it to series for next season. It is still early and many pilots have yet to be completed or even delivered, but there are some early standouts, like Fox’s comedy The New Girl and ABC’s Don’t Hate The Bitch In Apt. 23. I hear these two have ranked as 20th TV’s highest-testing comedy pilots in 10 years. After a season of no breakout comedy series, the genre might do well next season if strong preliminary pilot buzz is any indication. So here is early intelligence on what looks hot (and not) at the broadcast networks. (If your favorite pilot is not mentioned, it doesn’t mean it’s doomed: it just mean I don’t have enough intel on it yet. Check back for my next Pilot Panic update next week.)

Despite disappointing performance from most of Fox’s new series, especially on the drama side, the network doesn’t have many needs for next season with X Factor launching in the fall, all animated comedies already renewed, plus Raising Hope and Fringe, and midseason comedy Breaking In also in the mix. With two new animated series, Napoleon Dynamite and Allen Gregory, also on tap for 2011-12, and the renewal deals for Bones and House bound to close, there really isn’t much space for new scripted fare. Especially if Human Target gets renewed for a possible pairing with Fringe on Friday. And with the Kiefer Sutherland-Tim Kring pilot Touch, which won’t film until June, looking very likely for a midseason order.

All hail THE NEW GIRL! Great early buzz on Liz Meriwether’s comedy pilot directed by Jake Kasdan and starring Zooey Deschanel as an unlucky-in-love teacher who moves in with three unruly guys. The pilot has been testing through the roof and appears a shoe-in for a series pickup.

The Shawn Levy-directed comedy pilot FAMILY ALBUM is not such a slam-dunk but has a lot going going for it, including stars Mike O’Malley and Rachael Harris, and is considered a solid contender. Also promising, largely because of its star Jaime Pressly, is multicamera comedy pilot I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER. Read More »

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