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CW Closes Upfront Ad Sales Period With Growth as ‘Batwoman,’ ‘Nancy Drew’ Join Fray

Network about 80% sold on its total ad inventory

The CW became the first broadcast network to wrap its upfront advertising sales on Thursday, seeing an increase in ad commitments compared to last year, an insider with knowledge of negotiations told TheWrap.

Overall, the network has sold roughly 80% of its inventory for the 2019-20 season.

The CW scored CPM increases — the cost for reaching 1,000 viewers — in the mid-double-digits, roughly between 14-15%, according to the insider. A year ago, the CW garnered increases in the 10-11% range. In terms of overall demand, it was a bit lower compared to last year, but in line with years prior to that. On a multi-platform basis, volume was up in the mid-single digits, compared to 15% last year.

The network finished its upfront commitments exactly three weeks to the day of its Upfront presentation, and roughly the same time as last year. Pharmaceuticals and fast food were the main categories that drove new business.

The increased demand was not tied to any specific show, the insider said, but credited more to the strength of the network’s overall lineup. The CW will have 17 scripted shows next season, including 14 returning series. “Batwoman” and “Nancy Drew” are the two new fall shows, with “Riverdale” spinoff, “Katy Keene” premiering at midseason.

This was the ninth consecutive year of The CW selling its inventory on a multi platform basis, rather than simply offering commercial spots during the shows’ primetime air dates.