'Star'

Fox's Upfront Negotiations Done With Flat Volume

Strong demand for FX on cable, including sponsored VOD streams

Fox Networks Group says it is nearly done with its upfront negotiations and that sales for the Fox broadcast network were flat from a year ago.

Prices for commercials on Fox primetime shows were up 6% to 8% on a cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) basis, a bit lower than what broadcast networks are getting, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Advertisers seem to be interested in Fox's Wednesday night block of Empire and Star.

Fox's cable networks also saw prices rise 6% to 8%. Demand was particularly strong for FX.

There was also good demand for Fox Networks Group's digital products. Sales were up more than 40% for advanced products and new formats. That includes Fox's AIM targeting product and its sponsored VOD streams. FX's upfront digital commitments more than doubled.

In sports, sales for the 2018 World Cup are said to be ahead of plan. Fox is also using demand for the World Cup to boost other sports properties.

Fox is using Nielsen's out-of-home viewing in all of its estimates for the World Cup.

College football sales were also strong at Fox, which has added Big 10 games this fall.

All of the other broadcast network owners, aside from NBCUniversal, appear to be done with their upfront.

In general, there appeared to be somewhat more demand in the market than anticipated, but buyers say reports of high-single digit and low-double digit price increases are exaggerated.