Upfront Up For Networks

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The broadcast networks surprised skeptics by concluding a buoyant upfront ad-sales market with an estimated $9.2 billion in total sales, up slightly from $9.1 billion last year, and with impressive CPM (cost per thousand homes) unit gains in the high single-digits (6%-9%).

Given the sluggish economy and severe woes in other traditional media such as newspapers, the slightly up ad-dollar volume and CPM gains twice the inflation rate represented a good showing.

In rough estimates as the dust still settles, ABC booked $2.5 billion in sales, up about $100 million; CBS was flat at $2.5 billion; NBC’s $1.9 billion was up $100 million; Fox made a small gain with its $1.95 billion; and The CW weighed in at $350 million (down from $570 million after offloading five primetime hours to a third-party producer).