Cable Upfront Looks Stronger


The cable upfront, which last week was not finished but heading to conclusion, looks to be a bit stronger than the healthy broadcast market that already wrapped.

Cable ad deals are on track to be 10% above last year's nearly $8 billion upfront volume, while the average CPM increase for cable looks to be somewhere in the 6%-9% range. With so many basic cable networks, volume and CPM rates for individual networks vary widely.

The broadcast upfront wrapped early June, with dollar volume up just 1% to $9.2 billion though CPMs increased in the same healthy range as cable.

"Demand in the upfront was stronger than was expected in cable," says Debbie Richman, executive VP of Ad Sales for Lifetime Networks. The women's network booked 9%-10% hikes in CPM and double-digit volume growth in the upfront. Leading up to the upfront, Wall Street predicted dollar volume would be flat to down, and CPM increases in the mid single digits—which proved too pessimistic.