/// No More Quiet Period for CBS

May 1, 2013  |  Media Week

Les Moonves on Wednesday broke his uncharacteristic silence, telling CBS Corp. investors that his sales team would look to secure the highest CPM increases in the upfront marketplace. Speaking at the company’s first-quarter earnings presentation, the president and CEO predicted that this year’s upfront would share some DNA with the 2012-13 bazaar. “Pricing increases will look very similar to last year ,” Moonves said, adding that CBS would look to secure rate hikes in the “high-single to low double digit” range. “And there you have it, the numbers you have been waiting for,” Moonves cracked, a nod to how anxious analysts have been to hear him thump his chest in time-honored fashion. CBS last year lead the upfront marketplace, landing 9 percent CPM increases on the way to booking some $2.65 billion in advance commitments. Moonves earlier that spring had agitated for hikes of 10 percent or greater. While Moonves’ bluster was a return to form—in February, he joked that his sales department would murder him if he were to make another outsized prediction—it flies in the face of what media buyers have been saying in recent weeks. Suggesting that demand for broadcast inventory has reached its apogee, many senior TV buyers are saying that they are unlikely to write CPM premiums in excess of 6 percent. Wall Street watchers are following the agencies’ lead. Barclays media analyst Anthony DiClemente said he sees similar pricing patterns, noting that CPMs in aggregate are likely to increase by 6 percent. DiClemente added that he believes that ratings king CBS will continue to outperform, booking 6.5 percent rate increases, while boosting dollar volume 10.5 percent to $2.93 billion. Certainly, CBS has a lot going for it as it heads into the spring sell-off. It not only beats all comers in reach, averaging 12 million viewers per night, but it also has the crucial 18-49 and 25-54 demos all wrapped up. Moonves’ remarks arrived a day after he took a few jabs at Barry Diller’s Aereo, which has been the subject of multiple lawsuits as broadcasters look to prevent it from retransmitting their signals without permission

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No More Quiet Period for CBS


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