CBS, UPN Notch Upfront Gains

NEW YORK CBS has completed its upfront selling, taking in $2.4 billion in prime-time upfront advertising, about 8 percent more revenue than the $2.2 billion it took in last year.

“We are virtually done,” a network representative said, adding that CBS sold about 85 percent of its available prime-time inventory at cost-per-thousand increases averaging 10 percent. At the same time, sister network UPN sold about $350 million in its prime-time upfront, 40 percent more revenue than last year.

Ad categories showing strong increases in spending for both CBS and UPN were retail and telecommunications, while CBS had big increases in automotive spending and movies and DVDs, the latter category up 30 percent over last year. UPN’s CPM increases averaged 9 percent.

Meanwhile, ABC said it has sold $2.1 billion of prime-time advertising in this year’s upfront, which includes $500 million to $600 million in prime-time sports sales (which are not traditionally included in the prime-time total).

Minus the sports ad sales, ABC’s upfront total is $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion, which would be slightly less than last year. ABC said it sold its prime-time ad inventory at 5-6 percent cost-per-thousand rate increases, and sold 5 percent less inventory than it did last year.

Mike Shaw, ABC president of sales and marketing, said, “Historically, over the last 11 out of 12 years, the scatter marketplace for all networks has seen increases over upfront pricing, so selling more scatter has been advantageous for the networks.”