NEW YORK: The annual melée of the US TV airtime upfront has produced a surprise potential victor in the shape of fledgling network CW.

The broadcaster, a phoenix that rose from the ashes of WB and UPN last year [WARC News: 26-Jan-06], appears to have attracted the lion's share of the estimated $9 billion (€6.7bn; £4.5bn) in ad sales waiting to be placed for the fall TV season.

Despite its tiny ratings, advertisers are attracted by CW's efforts to offer new marketing concepts such as 'content wraps', in which ad breaks feature mini-shows built around products; and, new for September, 5-second commercials called 'cwickies'.

A pop-culture magazine series, CW Now, has also proved a hit with buyers from Publicis Group's MediaVest, which lists among its clients Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart. The new show does not include commercials but individual segments will be sponsored by advertisers.

Brian Hughes, at Interpublic Group's Magna Global comments: "All of its [CW] new series look good."

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