Upfront Revenue Rose 5% to $20.8B: Media Dynamics

Television upfront market for commercials in the 2018-19 season generated $20.8 billion in commitment from advertisers, up 5.2% from the previous year, according to an estimate by Media Dynamics.

Sales volume rose 5.8% to $9.6 billion for the broadcast networks. Cable rose 4.7% to $11.1 billion. 

Media Dynamics said that the addition of an extra day of programming on Sunday nights was the main reason for the increase in broadcast sales volume.

Prices for 30-second spots on a cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) basis were up 10.2% for adult viewers on broadcast and 9.7% on cable.

A larger proportion of upfront deals were made based on the C7 metric, which credits the networks with between 1% and 3% more viewers, than the C3 metric that had been prevalent in previous upfronts. C7 counts commercial viewership in live programming plus delayed viewing for seven days, while C3 counts live viewing plus 3 days’ worth of delayed viewing.

With ratings mostly down, audience guarantees were 8% to 9% lower than last year, Media Dynamics said.

The strong results indicate that marketers are still confident about national TV’s ability to produce sales despite concerns about clutter and fragmentations, Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics said. While over the top and addressable TV are grabbing some ad dollars, digital media was less of a threat because of problems with low reach, fraud and unreliable metrics.

“While times are indeed changing, and new targeting mechanisms and audience attainment platforms are developing, for now, TV remains the main event for most branding advertisers,” said Papazian.

Jon Lafayette

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.