According to Adage, netlet The CW is the first broadcast network to close it’s upfront sales for the season. The outcome is probably the best they could have hoped given the current circumstances. They managed to score an approximate $400 to $420 million, which is what they secured in last year’s upfronts. The network managed to sell approximately 75% of its inventory, and gained CPM increases (cost per reaching 1,000 viewers) of 6.5 to 7.5%.
Considering overall ratings, and especially ratings in it’s core demographic of 18-34 have significantly eroded this year, the fact there was still an increase in the CPM means certain advertisers think TV is effective. This is despite shifts in viewing habits to other devices such as DVRs and online. It was revealed not to long ago that 20% of the CW’s viewership watches online as opposed to live airings. The article was not clear if The CW sold packages that included online advertising as well as broadcast, but The CW has been known to negotiate that with their vendors in the past.
The article had a few interesting mentions about network strategy. It brought up the new Wednesday night lineup of “Arrow” and “Supernatural,” showing the network’s desire to expand it’s reach to a younger male audience instead of just the female audience it’s attracted through the years with shows like ”Gossip Girl” and “90210.” Also, anyone who watches “The Vampire Diaries” and “Nikita” knows the very obvious product placement deals they have with Ford and Kia. It’s pretty effective. “The Vampire Diaries” also became a virtual cell phone commercial this season, but if it pays the bills and allows these shows to be produced more power to them.
Given the softer advertising climate and declining ratings across the board for all nets, The CW should consider this a big win. With the upfronts out of the way so early, they can now focus on promoting the new fall lineup. October will be here before we know it.