CW Sees Upfront Wrapping With Rebound in Demand for TV, Streaming Ads (EXCLUSIVE)

A new lineup of Saturday programming and a surge of post-pandemic spending by Madison Avenue helped the CW boost its volume of advertising commitments in TV’s annual “upfront” market, a sign that advertisers continue to make the medium a central part of their plans even as they are showing new interest in chasing viewers to new streaming venues.

The network, jointly owned by ViacomCBS and AT&T’s WarnerMedia, has wrapped its upfront negotiations, according to a person familiar with the matter, and believes it has obtained a greater volume of advertising for its next programming cycle than it did in 2020. The network expects an increase in the volume of advertising committed to both its linear fall schedule as well as its digital extensions, this person said.

That would be hard not to do. Most TV networks saw ad volume decrease significantly last year as the coronavirus pandemic forced big marketers to pull tight their purse strings and scuttled live sports events and the production of new TV episodes. The CW, home to series like “The Flash” and “Riverdale,” basically filled its schedule with series imported from other sources and pushed back the launch of its main season for weeks.

Like other broadcast networks, the CW sought hikes in the rate of reaching 1,000 viewers, a metric known as a CPM that is central to these annual discussions between TV networks and Madison Avenue. The CW pressed for CPM hikes of between 16% and a range in the low 20% area, according to the person familiar with the matter. In 2020, with little leverage in the market, the CW and other networks were able to secure increases of just 3% to 4% for top inventory.

More to come…

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