CBS chief Les Moonves pretty much accused Fox this morning of spoiling the advertising upfront season for the broadcast networks by failing to hold out for higher prices. CBS is angling for increases of about 18% vs last year in the price advertisers pay to reach 1,000 viewers. But Fox, which cut the first major ad deals this year, is said to have settled for about 10%. “Fox plays their game. We play our game, and I like our game,” Moonves told analysts at the Nomura Securities U.S. Media Conference. “We’re not going to sell at 9% or 10%.” Maybe not. But while CBS digs in its heels, the smart money is betting that it will have to settle for a lot less than Moonves wants. Although many of the biggest ad deals have yet to close, the word in advertising circles is that ABC has agreed to low-double-digit percentage price increases for some of its spots. A lot could change over the next few days, though. Networks and advertisers appear to be in the home stretch of their negotiations, leading some to believe that the upfront dealmaking could wrap up within the week.
In other news, Moonves told the investor group that CBS will not make an offer next week to land broadcast rights to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro.