Monday, April 12, 2010

With Scatter Market Booming, Media Cos. Bullish on Upfront

NEW YORK ( -- An emerging economy and a healthy scatter market have cable executives licking their chops at the idea of being able to turn in a better performance in the upfront marketplace than they did during last year's brutal ad-selling session.

By most estimates, cable networks last year gave up pricing rollbacks, agreeing to reductions of 2% to 6% in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, or CPM, a common measure used in the annual talks. Meanwhile, 2009 total upfront ad-dollar commitments by marketers was expected to be down between 10% and 15%, falling to a range between $6.5 billion and $6.9 billion, compared with 2008's $7.65 billion.

Yet things have changed. Last year's market was clouded because the troubled economy made it tough to read consumer trends and willingness to spend. But this year should offer better visibility, said one ad-sales executive. "People understand their business far better than they did in last year's upfront," said David Levy, president-sales, distribution and sports for Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting System. "They are able to go back into the marketplace and try to gain back the market share they may have lost or increase the market share they have already gotten."

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