CBS, ABC, Fox gain; NBC loses in upfront ad sales revenue

MUMBAI: US broadcaster CBS is poised to stop NBC's traditional dominance as the leader in ad sales at the annual "upfront" market for the 2005-2006 season.



CBS is expected to have secured ad commitments of about $2.6 billion for the upcoming season, surpassing NBC. ABC's figure has been put at around $2.1 billion. This total reflects an increase in year-to-year potential revenue of more than 30 per cent with approximately $600 million estimated for primetime sports sales, which includes Monday Night Football the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Bowl Championship Series.

Fox is said to have earned around $1.6 billion. While NBC in the past has led the upfront market and earned around $2.6 billion last year media analysts predict that this time around the network stands to lose about $300 million in ad commitments after falling from first to fourth place in the 18 to 49 demo.



Advertisers have shown inteerst in CBS' two new crime dramas. In Criminal Minds in which a team of FBI experts try to plot the moves of psychopathic killers in advance. Meanwhile Close To Home sees a woman prosecutor tackling crimes behind suburbia's closed doors.

Media buyers have been quoted in reports saying that NBC was able to generate some interest with the Pentagon drama E-Ring and quirky comedy My Name is Earl. Media buyers though are less than optimistic about NBC's comic look at a fertility treatment center in the show Inconceivable.



Interestingly ABC's figure does not include Super Bowl XL which will air next year. This amounts to six weeks of primetime programming. ABC president of sales and marketing Mike Shaw said, "Clients responded very positively to our new primetime schedule, and the incredibly strong performance of our hit freshman series. And the good news doesn't end at prime. We are also seeing strength in our other dayparts such as news, daytime and early morning."

Based on the high-quality mix of ABC's programming and the strong reaction of media buyers to its midseason shows, ABC believes there will be an upside to scatter sales this season. In commenting upon this Shaw said, "Historically, in the last 12 out of 13 years, the scatter marketplace for all networks has seen increases over upfront pricing. So having the right inventory to sell in scatter can give you a strategic advantage." Shaw noted that ABC's sales and marketing strategy is predicated upon 52-week revenues.

ABC finished the 2004-2005 season up 12 per cent in total viewers, up 16 per cent in the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic and up 15 per cent among adults 18-34, the largest increases of any network over the prior season in viewers and across the adult demos.

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