New York consultant Jack Myers, who advises both the media-owning and agency camps on media trends, revealed on Wednesday his forecast for the 2002-03 TV season. His respected prognostications are based on a survey of over one hundred media buyers and advertisers.

Myers’ crystal ball predicts that total upfront [advance] purchases of commercial TV time during the period will reach $10.9 billion – almost exactly the same level as 2001-02. Across the ad industry, upfront spend is seen as a barometer for advertising demand and the economy at large.

According to Myers, the broadcast networks – which are continuing to shed viewers – will continue to shiver in the chill; whereas cable will bask in the sun of higher adspend. The six broadcast networks will collectively reap a total of $6.7 billion in preseason sales, 3.3% below last year’s estimated $6.925bn. Cable, however, can look forward to collecting $4.2bn during the upfront, 5% up on last year’s estimated $4bn, foresees Myers.

Meantime, the protagonists are talking up or talking down prospects for the upfront, according to which side of the agency/media divide they stand.

Says Jon Nesvig, president for sales at Fox Broadcasting: “There is definitely more money in the marketplace this year than there was a year ago. We think the networks will stay pretty strong in pricing. We've seen a number of key [advertising] categories heating up.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff