But the specifics of how the upfront market is unfolding depends on who you read:
- To hear Mediapost tell it, about 20 percent to 30 percent of business is sewn up, with CPM decreases for the broadcast nets of between two percent and seven percent (with the seven percent going to ratings laggard NBC).
- To hear Ad Age tell it, NBC and Fox are about half sold, and the range of the CPM decreases across the broadcast networks is one to three percent, with the exception of NBC, which is doing deals in the "mid-to-high single digit range", which, I guess, equals about the seven percent that Mediapost reported.
Every year, I wait for the upfront to rationalize itself, and for money to change hands based more closely on what is actually happening in viewership. I'm like Linus, waiting for the Great Pumpkin. What this market looks like, however, is a head nod to a lousy economy, with at best minimal recognition of the fact that cable ratings continue to increase and network ratings continue to decline, at much higher percentages than the decline in the CPM. There's always next year, I guess, but I'm not counting on it.
Previous coverage of the upfront at BNET Media:
- Upfront Update: It Might Happen Soon ... or Not
- CBS' Moonves Not as Upfront About the Upfront
- NBC Upfront Strategy: Hold Back Inventory For Scatter