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CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves is predicting a strong upfront
advertising season in 2011, and expects CBS to see double-digit rate increases
for its commercial time.
"Advertising is back, and the climate is much stronger," Moonves
told an audience Monday morning at the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom
conference in Palm Beach, Fla.
He noted that ad time has been selling for 35-40% more in the
scatter market in the fourth quarter of 2010 and January than the rates it sold
at last summer, indicating a much stronger marketplace.
And while in recent years advertisers have refused to pay
double-digit rate increases, Moonves predicted CBS, with its strong schedule,
would show substantial gains this year. "I would be very surprised if we took
much inventory below double digits."
Because of the improved climate, Moonves expects TV networks
to have more leverage this year. Unlike 2010, when many advertisers chose
not to buy time during the upfronts because of economic uncertainty, he says a
lot of the clients are more prepared in 2011 and looking farther out.
"Heading into the upfront, you can be sure there will be a
substantial increase, or we'll sell nothing," Moonves said. "We'll sell it all