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Upfronts 2009: Merrill Lynch Predicts Weak Upfront

Upfronts 2009: Complete Coverage from B&C

Banc of America Securities' Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen joined the Wall Street pack this morning in predicting an upfront ad market that will be down in double digits.

Cohen's estimate is for a 13% decline in total broadcast dollars.

Cable, she suggests, will see a possible 4% bump in dollars with Discovery, Turner and NBC Universal leading the group and Viacom underperforming the market.

Cohen sees broadcast CPMs (cost per thousand) coming in flat and predicts a 5% drop in sell-out levels.

"The uncertainty over the future of domestic auto companies makes total commitments in this year's upfront particularly difficult," she noted in this morning's report.