The Upfront: GroupM Said to Move With NBC, Lifetime, A&E and ABC Family

Media agency conglomerate GroupM has agreed to prime-time upfront buys for the 2008-09 season with NBC, as well as with Disney-affiliated cable networks ABC Family, Lifetime and A&E, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

Sources said GroupM has agreed to buy prime-time upfront inventory on NBC for an average overall cost-per-thousand increase of 5 percent over last season, although it has not yet finalized deals for NBC Universal cable properties Bravo, USA, Sci Fi and Oxygen.

Sources also said that average overall CPM increases agreed to in buys at the three ABC-affiliated networks also were in the 5 percent range.

A GroupM spokesman, however, flatly denied that any deals have been made.

Lifetime and A&E also denied that any deals were finalized, NBC had no comment, and ABC Family did not immediately return calls for comment.

The 5 percent average prime-time CPM increase at NBC would be in the same range that GroupM paid in last year