The upfront sales season for children’s television bodes well for media-buyers who this year expect to negotiate rate cuts of between one to five percent.

The outlook for children’s TV networks is less rosy, although insiders say that Nickelodeon has capitalized on a number of two-season package deals struck last year and has already disposed of 75% of its inventory. But other agency executives dispute this, saying the true figures are somewhere between 15% and 20% of inventory. Nickelodeon remains silent.

In general, most media buyers expect at least half the children’s channels to concede slight decreases on last year’s cost-per-thousand rates. The more muscular, such as Cartoon Network and Fox Kids Network may hold firm - achieve increases, even – but others such as Disney Kids Network are predicted to cut rates.

The presentations round is currently under way with the ears of agency TV buyers beings eagerly bent by the likes of Kids WB, Fox Kids Network, ABC/Disney Kids Network, Cartoon Network and others. The annual bazaar is expected to conclude by the end of April to avoid overlap with the adult programming round.

But with a glut of available kids’ inventory, why hold a programming upfront at all this year. ask some savvy media buyers? Says Jon Mandel, a media buyer for Hasbro and co-managing director of MediaCom, New York: “You do deals as you need to.” Shelly Hirsch, ceo of Summit Media Group, New York, agrees: “When supply is greater than demand, why do you want to lock yourself in?"

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline