Some sobering statistics have surfaced amid the champagne clambake that is the US TV 'upfronts'.

First quarter ad revenues at three of the big four broadcast networks - ABC, NBC and CBS - slipped 2.07% compared with the same quarter last year, according to latest figures from the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association. News Corporation's Fox network is excluded as it declines to provide revenue data to the BCFM.

As network execs woo media buyers to commit advertising dollars to the fall television season, the figures show ad revenue for Q1 at $2.88 billion (€2.29bn; £1.57bn), down from $2.94bn in the same period in 2004.

Sport was the biggest loser. It saw revenues slip by 21%, while news programs, buoyed by major events such as the Asian tsunami and the prolonged death of Pope John Paul II, saw ad revenues rise 12.43% to $145 million.

Primetime revenues also recovered after two poor quarters. They topped $1.587 billion from $1.526 billion in the same period last year.

According to BCFM, total net revenues show some year-to-year weakness at the main networks, but still show an overall improvement on 2003.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff