CBS Finishes Upfront With CPM Increases Lower Than Last Year

Network says it still has the highest rates in the market

This upfront season, it's all over but the shouting for CBS, according to a statement released by the organization itself today.

“As we near the finish line, we are very confident that CBS has once again achieved the highest pricing and most total dollars in the upfront marketplace," said a spokesperson in a rare official statement by the network. "Agencies and clients continue to value the strength, stability and delivery that we provide as a pure-play broadcaster, and we are very pleased that in addition to C3, C7 is now playing a meaningful part in our negotiations.”

It is unusual for CBS to come out and say that it's more or less done with upfront deals—but as it's the first network to cross the finish line, perhaps that's in order. It also serves to put the market on notice—things are probably going to move more quickly this year than last.

The cable market just started to move this week, as well, with budgets registered at several of the major players and momentum building at Turner, among others.

Market activity at broadcast nets NBC, ABC and Fox continues apace, meanwhile, though the latter is having trouble with its slate given that the guy who chose it isn't at the company anymore.

Overall, budgets are down, say sources on both sides. Network execs are convinced that brands are "hiding the money" and expect a strong scatter market, but buyers aren't so sure.

There's far less confidence in the fall TV slate after a dismal hit-to-miss ratio for new product across the networks, and perennials like CBS' crime franchises and The Big Bang Theory (which has to be a significant factor in CPM maintenance this year) are few and far between.

CBS' price increases are said to be in the 5 percent range. Sources familiar with NBC's deals said its increases are going as high as 8 percent. The Peacock is said to be seeking "a correctional year" in which the pricing gap between it and its competitors is closing.