Upfront Draws to a Close; CBS Criticised

03 July 2001

As the upfront buying period for the fall season draws to a close, networks are thought to have secured advertising deals worth $7 billion, around 15% down on last year.

Attracting a considerable amount of criticism is CBS, which obstinately refused to cut prices, even after its fellow networks lowered theirs, before reportedly agreeing to do so right at the end [WAMN: 27-Jun-01].

Several networks intend to sell remaining ad space at a later date (the scatter market), hoping that an improvement in the economy will fuel demand. CBS revealed it offloaded around 65% of its inventory, leaving it with about $800 million to sell in the scatter market – a difficult task even in an upbeat economy.

Leslie Moonves, president of CBS, insists that the network is happy with its upfront performance, despite claims from NBC TV network president Randy Falco that its plan had backfired.

NBC made the most money out of the season, bringing in around $2bn, while the youth-friendly WB Network is thought to have been particularly successful, managing a gain on last year.

News source: AMA Marketing News (USA)