CBS is headed to the upfront ad sales finish line, we hear, with high single digit per-viewer pricing gains for its prime time inventory — and surprising strength for its morning and late night programming.
The broad strokes information suggests that CBS beat analysts’ expectations. For example, Evercore ISI’s Vijay Jayant predicted that CBS’ prime time prices would rise 6%, contributing to a 2.8% lift total upfront sales to $3.1 billion. Nomura Instinet’s Anthony DiClemente saw prime time sales rising 1.4% to $2.48 billion.
But consumer packaged goods companies, drug makers, and quick service restaurants were eager to lock in ad time for the 2017-18 season, and drove the market.
CBS kept the volume of its prime time sales pretty much even with last year. Most of the deals were based on C7 numbers, the audience for commercials that CBS attracts over seven days including DVR and on-demand viewing.
This was the first year that CBS also made some deals for the total number of eyeballs attracted over 35 days.
The more important sweetener, though, was in sales for the network’s morning and late night shows including The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show With James Corden.
These shows have benefited from the public’s fascination with news, and jokes, about President Trump.
Prices for ads in these dayparts were up from high single digit percentages to low double digit. And CBS raised the volume of sales by double digit percentages.