ViacomCBS Gets 'Historic' Price Increase as it Finishes Upfront

ViacomCBS Upfront Jo Ann Ross
Advertising head Jo Ann Ross with Jeff Probst at ViacomCBS's 'Survivor'-style upfront

ViacomCBS is close to done with its upfront deals and is seeing what sources indicate were “historic” price increases. 

This year’s upfront was expected to be strong, with available rating points down and marketers looking to advertise as the pandemic eased. NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Co. and Fox went out early, seeing price increases in the 19% to 21% range.

Buyers were less eager to pay big increases for cable, so ViacomCBS and Discovery had to hold to see if they could get the pricing they wanted in the upfront or wait to get them in the scatter market, buyers said.

For ViacomCBS, demand was particularly heavy for its National Football League schedule and other sports. Marketers were also eager to get into CBS primetime programming, according to a source familiar with the situation.

ViacomCBS packaged its digital properties, including its streaming services Paramount Plus and Pluto TV as part of its Eye Q offering, which rang up sales as buyers shifted funds from broadcast to digital. 

Advertisers also bumped up spending behind Vantage, ViacomCBS’s audience targeting product.

Among the categories contributing to the strong demand were travel and movies, both of which were silence during the pandemic. ViacomCBS also saw an increase in business from emerging DTC brands.

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.