ABC Starts Upfront With Starcom, Zenith Deals

ABC has done the first deals of the broadcast prime-time upfront, reaching agreements with media agencies Starcom and Zenith Media, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Mediaweek has learned that the deals garnered ABC an average of between 8-10 percent cost-per-thousand rate increases for its prime-time inventory.

The dollar value of the deals with each media agency could not be determined, although sources said that it was a significant amount of business placed by each agency, not just for a couple of clients.

Neither of the agencies nor ABC would comment on any business conducted.

Sources said Fox is also close to doing some upfront deals, while NBC is trying to hammer out a deal with GroupM, the media agency conglomerate that started last year’s upfront marketplace with NBC. All parties involved in those negotiations also declined comment.

In its negotiations with Starcom and Zenith, ABC reportedly opened its negotiations seeking low-double-digit percent CPM increases for prime-time inventory, sources said. The percentages eventually agreed to are averages, since different shows sell at different values, depending on their ratings.

Both Zenith and Starcom have major movie companies as clients, and movie studios traditionally like to get their money down in the marketplace for Thursday night programming, a key night to reach consumers before the weekend. Sources said movie clients across all agencies were getting antsy about getting their dollars placed.

Zenith does buying for Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. Among Zenith