Upfront 2010 appears to be off and running, led by Fox,
which is already writing advertising deals for the 2010-11 season.
Unlike last year, when there was no end to the recession in
sight, advertisers were demanding price cuts for TV commercials and
negotiations stretched into August, buyers and sellers appear to have returned
to serious conversations. And they appear to be coalescing around increases
that would be just about enough to cancel out last year's carnage.
Fox, which has TV's top rated show in American Idol and the youngest audience of the Big Four
broadcasters, is especially popular with the big-spending movie studios, which
compete with one another to lock in commercial time to launch their films.
Sources say Fox is getting price increases in the high-single-digit range. Fox's inaugural upfront sales were first reported by
Meanwhile, a CBS spokesman says the network is in "active
negotiations." CBS execs have said they will seek price increase of more than
10% during this year's upfront.
NBC and ABC had no comment.
Analysts expect this year's upfront TV market to be much
stronger than last year's bargain basement, when prices dropped by single
digits and sales dropped 10% to 15% as networks held onto inventory, betting
prices would rise as the economy strengthened.
reported in April, Spencer
Wang of Credit Suisse forecasted that upfront sales for broadcast would be
$8.78 billion, up 21%. Wang said cable's upfront take will grow by 22% to