CBS Starts To Make Upfront Deals At 14%-15% CPM Increases

With Fox done with its upfront selling, attention shifted to CBS, which finished No. 1 to Fox in the 18-49 demo and No. 1 in viewers last season. The network had been the most aggressive this upfront season, going into the process with a request for a 18% CPM increase, doubling the increase it got last year. As suspected, there was some gamesmanship involved in the high starting asking price, but it may have helped CBS start writing business at impressive 14%-15% CPM rises. Yesterday, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves stressed that the network won’t sell at 9% or 10% CPM bumps. (Fox’s CPM increases are in the 10%-11% range.) Industry sources stress that CBS is still early in the selling process with only handful of deals made, but word is they involve a couple of big clients. With ad agencies breaking rank, others may follow. If not, I hear CBS is not going to bring the prices down and plans to wait the buyers out or, if there are not enough takers now, to hold more inventory for the scatter market. Last season, the prices went up from 8%-9% at the upfront to 40% on the scatter market.

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