US Networks Avoid Ad Sales Pitfalls

11 June 2008

NEW YORK: The US 'upfront' advertising salesfest has wrapped-up with marketers and agencies committing a grand total of $9.2 billion (€5.9bn; £4.69bn) to the broadcast networks' fall season airtime.  

The numbers are on a par with last year, but more inventory was sold to achieve those same levels.

While the nation's economy remains fragile, fewer advertisers were willing to wait for 'scatter sales' - airtime bought nearer to a show's airing. The networks themselves were eager to pull in ad dollars ahead of uncertain prospects.

Media analyst Ed Atorino says they "would rather have the money upfront, and they'll play the scatter game later".

Nonetheless, the five major broadcasters will be happy with their final tallies.

Just a month ago some industry analysts were issuing dire warnings about a significant downswing in ad sales, citing the credit squeeze, the Hollywood writers' strike and a slide in audience ratings.

Comments Mike Shaw, ABC's president of sales and marketing: "When you see this validation for television, and of network television ... it is a pretty strong affirmation of what we were bringing to market."

ABC expects to notch around $2.5bn billion in ad sales commitments, compared with $2.4bn last year. NBC was the first network to complete the sale of its inventory for $1.9bn, up from last year's $1.8bn.

CBS has secured circa $2.5bn, a small rise from $2.45bn last year; and News Corporation's Fox has commitments for between $1.95bn and $2bn, compared with $1.9bn last year.

Data sourced from Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff