Fox, whose ratings fell dramatically during the past season,
has begun selling commercials for next season, according to sources.
Fox is often the first broadcast network to sell its ads in
the upfront market because it airs fewer hours than the older networks, and
because its younger viewership is attractive to marketers like movie studios that
need to grab the most in-demand time periods.
Pricing and volume so far for Fox could not be determined. Fox's
sales fell slightly to $1.9 billion last year. Overall, analysts expect the
broadcasters to do between 3% and 5% less business in the upfront than last
It was unclear if any of the other broadcast networks have
begun writing business, but ad market participants said most of the agencies
have registered with the networks, letting them know how much money they intend
to spend, which is the first part of the negotiating process.
Some cable networks have done some business as well. Viacom,
which often gets out early with low price increases in order to attract dollars,
has done some business. Sources said that it's taking 3% price increases on a
CPM basis, which is lower than the 6% price increases the major cable programmers
mid-sized to small agencies have also done business with some other
programmers, sources said.