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Nets' 3Q Scatter Getting Scarce

Third-quarter scatter looks as though it will begin and end quickly and be costly, according to various agency buyers.

John Muszynski, EVP/chief broadcast investment officer, Starcom Worldwide, says most of his scatter deals are done, with both broadcast and cable taking advantage of short supplies. "Clients without a TV presence are seeing 30%-60% increases for network, while some niche cable players are in the 125% premium range, more than double what they asked for last year."

Several buyers say broadcast scatter is close to sold out. "People who have waited are going to pay extremely high prices," Muszynski predicts.

Tim Spengler, EVP/director of national broadcast, Initiative Media, agrees. Noting that Starcom's scatter numbers are in keeping with what he's seeing at his shop, he adds, "I don't think there's going to be a big third-quarter scatter market because there's not much inventory left. This is a reflection of how many networks oversold the quarter in last year's upfront and the fact that very little upfront inventory was canceled when options were due."

Advertisers with the least wiggle room are those with summer-season products to market. "A mix of programming is important to each client," explains Marc Goldstein, CEO, Mindshare, "but some clients are looking for exposure in the summer."

New scripted summer series reportedly selling well include Fox's Keen Eddie and American Juniors
and NBC's The Restaurant, which debuts July 20.

With the summer surge, the networks complete a second consecutive broadcast year in which scatter pricing has been 30% or better ahead of upfront pricing.