The network says it nears the finish line “very confident that CBS has once again achieved the highest pricing and most total dollars” in sales of prime time ads for the season that begins this fall. The tally does not include the NFL games CBS will air on Thursday nights for several weeks; they’re being sold separately. In addition to the overall sales, the company adds in a rare public statement about the upfronts that it has made progress in selling ads based on the number of eyeballs they reach over seven days (known as C7), up from the conventional three days (C3) — a major issue for CEO Les Moonves. The C7 calculation “is now playing a meaningful part in our negotiations.”
The network didn’t offer specific numbers to support its claim. People tracking the market say CBS has been able to raise per-viewer prices for its ads by about 6% vs last year, when it generated an estimated $2.5B+. If correct, then that’s about twice the rate of its rivals outsiders estimate. But it’s hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons as deals include options for cable and digital properties. The overall market is said to be weaker than expected with some advertisers holding back in the hope of landing better terms later in the season.