Cable Next Up as Buoyant Broadcast Upfronts Wind Down

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If the broadcast networks had this strong of an upfront after a relatively awful season, how green will the pastures be for red-hot cable powerhouses like USA and TNT?

That is the question taking center stage this week after broadcast television finally got some good news last week.

The surprising results began to catch the industry's attention Thursday when NBC completed its upfront deals, with network sources saying it saw CPM growth in the mid-to-high single digits and year-over-year growth in primetime sales of $100 million to $1.9 billion.

Despite the network's double-digit ratings declines, the volume growth came from selling more inventory in the upfront marketplace, as well as seeing money coming in from the scatter market as clients were more inclined to lock in availability and pricing now.

Even The CW was surprised by its upfront sales, as it saw results approaching 6%-8% increases in CPMs and overall volume in line with 2007, factoring in that it is offering less inventory after selling off its Sunday nights to Media Rights Capital.

According to network sources, the network's shift to a more female-skewed focus may have helped with the surprising returns, but it is probably more so a result of the general strength the broadcast networks are seeing in this year's upfront.

Log on to broadcastingcable.com's Upfront & Center coverage for the latest results.

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