Analyst Bearish on Upfront Dollars

Janedis sees volume down 2% to $18.2B

Related: Ask a Buyer: Your Upfront Questions Get Answered

The upfront market for the 2017-18 TV season won’t be as strong as last year’s bullish bazaar, according to one Wall Street analyst.

John Janedis of Jeffries said he expects total volume to be down 2% to $18.2 billion.

Janedis cited a number of factors for his forecast, including tough comparisons to big price increases last year, fewer dol­lars flowing back from digital to TV and weakness in some big spending catego­ries, including retail, food and beverages and household products.

“We believe CPM increases will be more muted than in 2016, which was the best for the industry since 2011,” Janedis said in his report. “With TV ratings con­tinuing their multiyear decline, we be­lieve we are nearing a point where CPM inflation for TV will start to moderate.”

Janedis said he sees broadcast net­work volume falling 3% to $8.7 billion, while cable upfront volume drops by only 1% to $9.4 billion.

Among broadcasters, NBC, with its hit This Is Us, will fall the least, while Fox will register the biggest decline.

Prices on a cost per thousand viewers basis are expected to increase between 4% for Fox and 7% for CBS.

In cable, where networks sell about 50% of their inventory compared to close to 80% for broadcast, Janedis ex­pects Scripps Networks Interactive to be a top performer, with AMC Networks and Time Warner in a similar ballpark.

BROADCAST UPFRONT VOLUME FORECAST

NETWORK VOLUME CHANGE

CBS .......................$2.5................-3%
NBC.......................$2.4............... -2%
ABC.......................$2.0 .............. -4%
Fox......................... $1.4............... -5%
CW........................ $0.5...............+5%
SOURCE: Jeffries (numbers in billions)