Just like last year, top-rated network Fox is setting the pace at the upfront marketplace by making the first deals. With new offerings like Simon Cowell’s X Factor and the Steve Spielberg-produced dino adventure series Terra Nova, I hear Fox is commanding CPM increases in the low double-digit range, said to about 10.5-11%. That is higher than the increases of about 8.5-9% the network landed at last year’s upfront market. While Fox is taking a jump on the Memorial Day weekend, word is that the network will probably wrap its sales next week. The rest of the networks are also in active negotiations with ad agencies. Earlier this month, Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente predicted that advertisers will commit about $9.2 billion in upfront buys at ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC for next season. That’s up 7.5% vs. last year and will beat 2008’s record $8.8 billion.
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