Les Moonves

CBS Nearly Done With Upfront Sales

Updated: Prices up low-double digits; volume rises

CBS has nearly completed its upfront sales for next season, with prices on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis up in the low double digits.

The Tiffany Network sold more primetime ads than a year ago in the upfront. A year ago, it held out for higher prices in scatter and the gamble paid off with scatter prices up 20% to 30%.

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This year's upfront was expected to be stronger than last year, and CBS CEO Les Moonves indicated he expected double-digit price increases. He also expected to sell close to 80% of the network's inventory in the upfront, up from the low 70s a year ago.

The network made more deals based on the C7 metric, which includes seven days of DVR playback, compared to the C3 that has been predominant for the past few years. C7 enables networks to offer more ratings points for sale and monetize more viewing.

Related: Early Upfront Prices At Double-Digit Levels

Buyers had been looking to try to restrain price increases in what was seen as a strong market. In some cases, by switching to C7, they were able to negotiate a lower rate.

VOD was also a bigger part of the network's mix than in year's past.

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The primetime figures do not include sports and late night. Sports, with Thursday Night Football and SEC college football, was said to be strong.

In the last few weeks, NBCUniversal had said it was more than halfway done. Fox was also said to be about halfway through its negotiations with the big agencies.

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Viacom's cable networks were done with their upfront, with volume up but a smaller price increase than its broadcast cousin.

Increases in the upfront do not necessarily indicate that a network's ad revenues will be up for the year. This year, the market, while strong, won't lift all boats, and there are likely to be winners and losers.