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CW Finishes Upfront With Strong Volume

The CW has followed up its best season in seven years with a super heroic upfront.

In what seems to be a weak market overall, the CW’s upfront sales for next season are up about 12% to 15%, to more then $400 million, according to sources familiar with the situation. Ad prices on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) viewer basis are up 4%, near the high end for broadcast networks this upfront.

The new shows headed by its hit The Flash, the CW just finished its most-watched season in the past seven years, up 13% in the 18-49 demo — an older audience than the network has targeted previously. It also grew its viewership among men.

The change in audience composition began attracting advertisers in categories the network hadn’t been able to crack because it was perceived as a home for young women.

In the upfront, the CW added a couple dozen new clients in the auto, financial and retail categories. And despite the way young viewers tend to watch online, these new advertisers wanted to be seen on CW shows on television.

The Flash was a big hit from its premiere. And once it aired, the phones at the CW started ringing with advertisers looking to get on board.

At its upfront presentation this year, the CW showed off two shows that were near the top of most ad buyers lists of potential hits. One is another DC super hero show, Legends of Tomorrow, and another is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.