At the start of the 2013 upfront season, we gazed into our crystal ball and made some predictions as to how the negotiations would play out. While we’ve gained some clarity in the past few weeks, the future is still surprisingly murky.
Broadcast Networks Lag
The upfront has dragged on longer than expected, with syndication finishing first and some networks following behind.
Total broadcast volume is expected to lag last year’s $9.55 billion take, but with ABC and NBC patiently stitching together more time-intensive cross-platform deals, it’s impossible to assess where the final number will land.
ABC has been bullish on pricing, according to media buyers, and is unwilling to budge from the 7- to 8-percent increases it is seeking. That seems to have delayed some negotiations a bit.
NBC’s negotiations are taking longer than normal as the network goes to marketplace selling all of NBCUniversal’s assets — broadcast, cable and digital — bundled together. The larger deals on the table are more complicated and take longer to negotiate.
With both networks very close to the finish line, there’s still no indication of how much volume either has secured or how much inventory they are selling in the upfront. Networks sometimes hold back ad time to sell later in the scatter market if they think odds are good that they can get higher prices at that time.
Cable Also Taking Its Time
While we expect advertisers to shift between $800 million and $1 billion from broadcast to cable and digital, it’s hard pin down a more exact amount. Cable networks are also taking their time with negotiations.
Check out the infographic above to see the numbers we’ve pulled together. And of course, we’ll share more information as it becomes available.