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Fox Close to Wrapping Its Upfront Ad Sales, Seeing 9% CPM Increases

Network expected to take in around $1.9 billion, 15% more than last year

Fox is in the home stretch in its upfront ad sales.

The network has completed deals with most of the major agencies already and expects to complete selling of its primetime commercial inventory by midday Friday, individuals familiar with the negotiations told The Wrap.

Fox is averaging cost-per-thousand (CPM) price increases of 8 percent to 9 percent for its commercial time, and its total ad revenue take will be about $1.9 billion — about 15 percent more than last year, the individuals said.

That figure is comparable to what the network took in two years ago.

NBC Universal is in serious negotiations with several of the top-spending agencies, but individuals familar with the deals told TheWrap disagreements over pricing have delayed the finalization of deals. Most agencies were hoping to do deals averaging 5 percent-6 percent CPM increases, but NBC is holding out for 7 percent, the individuals said.

Agency negotiations also were proceeding with CBS and ABC, with both networks expected to get similar CPM increases to Fox’s.

Negotiations at those networks were slower because they have other dayparts to do deals on, while Fox has no daytime, nightly news or late night to sell, so it was able to wrap things up more quickly.

Negotiations at The CW were also under way with all of the agencies, but that network has a much more narrowly targeted audience — women 18-34 — so advertisers looking for mass reach are getting their deals done with the Big Four networks first. Still, negotiations with The CW have started much earlier than in the past few years, indicating a super-strong marketplace that has given the media agencies a sense of urgency to set their broadcast network deals done as early as possible.

The lightning speed of the broadcast upfront sales negotiations is a throwback to several years ago, when all the networks sold out within a few weeks of their upfront presentations.

This year, as predicted by TheWrap in its pre-upfront stories, is in sharp contrast to last year, when negotiations dragged on through July.