CBS Is ‘Virtually Done’ With TV Upfronts Ad Sales

Volume rises 3-5 percent from last summer, non-sports primetime increased by low double digits

14th Annual AFI Awards - Red Carpet Les Moonves
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CBS is leading the charge to close its upfronts books, and the network is “virtually done” with a lucrative ad sales period, a person close to the broadcaster told TheWrap.

This time around, volume rose 3-5 percent versus the prior year, we’re informed. The so-called Tiffany Network hauled in more total dollars, and non-sports primetime increased by low double-digits.

CBS will share “Thursday Night Football” with NBC this fall, so Les Moonves & Co. have fewer games to make big bucks off of, 30-seconds at a time. The company also doesn’t have the Super Bowl this coming winter, a luxury it could look forward to this time last year. Still, our source called the company’s sports ad sales “very strong.”

Some of the top industry categories for CBS were retail, telecom and financial. That latter umbrella includes banking, credit cards, insurance and brokerage firms, among other kinds of companies.

CBS — like the entire industry should expect — saw more conversion from C3 to C7 in 2016 and stuffed more video-on-demand into the mix. “C3” refers to average commercial rating with the inclusion of three days of delayed viewing, “C7” counts a week of later viewing.

Finally, we’re told that late-night pricing was “high,” but the demand reflected CBS’ less-than-stellar piece of the supply pie.