Broadcast networks earn higher ad rates as upfronts end

By Daniel S Levine,

CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC have now wrapped up their upfronts, selling advance ad space to advertisers. CBS, the most-watched network, led the pack, while the Disney-owned ABC came in a close second.

People familiar with the matter, who remained anonymous, told The Wall Street Journal that CBS received $2.7 billion in ad commitments. That is up, but just barely from the $2.65 billion the network received last year.

Sources for The Los Angeles Times said that CBS rose its ad rates 10 percent, which advertisers were more than willing to pay. The network is easily the most-watched of the four broadcasters, thanks to hits like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory. The network is hoping the 2012-2013 TV season brings as much rewards as this past season, since it barely changed its schedule and only added four new shows.

ABC rose its rates from 6 percent to 8 percent. The LA Times reports that the network sold just under $2.4 million, although WSJ reports that it was closer to $2.5 million.

According to Reuters, ABC finished last in the key 18-49 rating demographic, although it is the only network to complete all of its upfront deals with advertisers. ABC is debuting a whopping 10 new shows this season, with a couple receiving positive critical buzz already.

Fox and NBC are still working with advertisers. Despite low ratings all of last season, NBC is still trying to get a 6 percent rate increase, while Fox is looking at an 8 percent increase. Thanks to American Idol and other hits, Fox had the best overall rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic.

Sources for Reuters said that the sectors that really came out to buy ad time were retail, fast-food restaurants, financial services, telecom and technology.

The networks are hoping that new comedies help boost sagging ratings, as all four have added at least one new sitcom. You can check out the full 2012-2013 fall schedule here.



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