As expected, the upfront market started moving after the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Top-rated network Fox led the pack with the first deals today at CPMs increases in the high-single digit range. CBS, the most watched network, has started active negotiations as has CW, with the rest of the broadcast nets also in various stages of early upfront dealmaking. Unlike last year’s protracted upfront market, which stretched through end of July, this year’s buying is expected to be done at a brisk pace, with some or all broadcast nets done by the end of the week. After last year’s recession-fueled dive in overall upfront spending to $6.5 billion at the broadcast networks, the marketplace is poised for a big rebound, possibly in the neighborhood of 20%. Some have even speculated that the broadcast networks’ upfront haul could break a record this year, crossing the $9 billion mark.
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