/// Turner Wraps Upfront Business

June 19, 2013  |  Media Week

Turner Broadcasting System has wrapped the bulk of its entertainment network upfront sales, finalizing the last of its deals with the major media agencies just hours ago. According to multiple sources, Turner’s TNT , TBS, truTV and Adult Swim secured CPM increases between 7 percent and 8 percent, putting the portfolio at the high end of the market. Because some smaller business remains outstanding, it’s not possible to get a definitive read on overall dollar volume. That said, given the price hikes and a sell-out rate that is said to be on par with last year’s figure (approximately 65 percent), it’s safe to assume that Turner’s upfront haul will be greater than its 2012-13 take. Since upfront transactions aren’t subject to intense third-party scrutiny and the numbers themselves are notoriously squishy (more on that in a moment), the details that arise out of any given spring bazaar are directional at best. That said, Turner is verifiably at the top of the cable food chain, with TNT and TBS alone accounting for some $1.95 billion in 2012 ad sales revenue—or about half of the entire portfolio’s $4 billion haul. (That figure includes sales for the company’s news and kids brands, i.e., CNN and Cartoon Network.) Telecom and quick-serve restaurants were particularly robust categories for Turner. As has been the case at every networks group, automotive was softer than expected. A week ago, Turner was at the halfway mark . It closed its last significant bit of business Tuesday night, coming to terms with the agency that controls 20 percent of the TV waterfront (GroupM). Also done with its business is Viacom . Discovery Communications is well on the way to folding its tent, with 80 percent of its deals on the books, while Fox Cable has just one bit of business remaining on its plate. Thanks to a must-see roster of demo-friendly original series and theatricals on FX and the flood of available GRPs for sale at the start-up net FXX, Fox Cable is expected to land the biggest year-over-year volume increases.

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Turner Wraps Upfront Business

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