Slim Pickin's in Syndie Scatter


Normally tight-lipped syndicators are positively mute regarding fourth-quarter scatter. For one thing, there's not much to say.

"There's not a lot going on," says Andrew Ladas, account supervisor, Carat. He sees syndication scatter increases in the "single digits, 3%-5% over upfront pricing."

Bob Riordan, EVP/marketing director, national broadcast, MPG, agrees. "Fourth quarter is a weak marketplace anyway, but I see very little to no money being left for scatter." He projects high-single-digit increases, with only the top-tier shows sold out and the few dollars there are coming from largely telecommunications and theatrical.

Syndicators acknowledge that the pace of the marketplace is moving slower than expected. "[Buyers] are right. The market isn't as robust as last year," says one. "But put that in context. Depending on the program, we're seeing low-teens-to-20% increases above upfront for hard-to-reach audiences." And money's still there from the entertainment and retail sectors, says another who expects "substantial holiday" retail spending. Videogames and DVD dollars also are coming in.

Still, buyers lament a troubling lack of break-out off-net syndication hits.

is tanking," says one. "King of Queens
didn't get the clearances it thought it would," says another. All agree Living It Up! With Ali and Jack
is in serious trouble. "King World definitely needs to give us extra advertising dollars," says another. The Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Osbourne talk shows from Warner Bros. are holding their own, however, attracting lots of young women with money.