/// Bad Moon Rising: Unfavorable Indicators Dog Broadcasters

March 25, 2013  |  Media Week

Although clients’ budgets won’t be registered for another two months or so, analysts and media buyers are already saying that the 2013-14 upfront marketplace won’t be particularly memorable. In a note to investors, Credit Suisse research analyst Michael Senno predicted that a “stable, but tepid” scatter market is likely to presage a flat spring bazaar for broadcasters, while top-tier cable networks may see dollar volume improve by around 2 percent to 4 percent versus the year-ago period. Senno said he believes that CPM inflation will continue to cool off in this year’s selling season. The general feeling of malaise can be chalked up to a sluggish macroeconomic economy, ratings declines and a perceived shift to digital from linear TV. Having surveyed a sample of media buyers, Senno said the view from the agency side of the desk suggests that this year’s upfront could be a carbon copy of the 2012-13 sell-off. Last year, ABC, CBS and Fox were flat, while NBC increased volume by 3 percent. All told, the Big Four broadcasters booked $9.25 billion in advance prime time commitments, marking an infinitesimal 1 percent gain versus the previous year’s $9.15 billion. Cable was in far better form, raking in a record $9.8 billion , per the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. That said, the total haul represented a 5 percent increase versus the 2011-12 bazaar, during which cable soared 16 percent to $9.29 billion.

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