US TV Networks Improve Upfront Sales Dollars

27 June 2007

NEW YORK: US marketers have committed $9.2 billion (€6.8bn; £4.6bn) to the nation's TV networks as this year's commercials airtime sales frenzy, aka the upfronts, comes to a close.

The TV companies have beaten last year's $8.95bn, a development they will welcome even more warmly in light of the introduction of commercial ratings that include three days of DVR playback [WARC News: 04-June-07].

The switch to commercial ratings has indicated a drop of between 5%-10% in the number of viewers who watched ads compared to the programming.

But the networks have emphasised their reach to broad audiences in an increasingly fragmented media landscape.

Says ABC sales chief Mike Shaw: "The point is, more commercials are being seen on the networks than any other video alternatives."

Marketer Mark Gibson, assistant vp-advertising for insurance group State Farm, takes a different view. "Obviously there's still a place for broadcast prime, but this year, from our perspective, cable continues to play an increasing role in what we do."

CBS has been crowned this year's winner in the networks' sales race, nailing $2.45bn, up on last year's $2.4bn. It was followed by ABC with $2.4bn, a rise from $2.2bn last year. Fox's total also climbed to $1.9bn, compared with $1.8bn in 2006.

Despite its much trumpeted $900m deal with media-buyer GroupM [WARC News: 15-Jun-07], NBC slipped to $1.8bn from its 2006 upfront total of $1.9bn. Fledgling network CW also slipped a little, from last year's $650m to $640m.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff