Cable Upfront: Winners And Losers

Dollars predicted to be down 5% to 10%

The major cable groups are done with the bulk of their negotiations and most succeeded in keeping CPM rollbacks in the same range as broadcast networks. “The big ones are done, and now you’re starting to see the smaller deals beginning to take shape,” said one cable network sales executives. “Rollbacks are anywhere between flat to minus 8.”

The cable marketplace is expected to see a decline of between 5% and 10% off last year’s $7.7 billion, putting the likely final figure at between $6.9 billion and $7.3 billion. A more precise picture will emerge by Labor Day, say executives in the field. Advertiser money that was held back early in the upfront process ended up flowing to cable, said one agency executive.
The big winner was NBC Universal’s USA Network which only saw rollbacks of 2%. The top-rated cable channel had media buyers flocking to deals offering high efficiencies or reasonable pricing. USA is historically a less expensive top tier service than other rivals. Strong programming and prices helped bring advertisers in the door. USA airs some of the most popular shows in cable including Burn Notice and Monk, in addition to off-net far such as Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

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