Broadcast TV's Advanced Ad Sales May Increase 20% to $8.26 Billion in U.S.

Broadcast television advertising sales in advance of the U.S. fall season may rise 20 percent to $8.26 billion for the top four networks, driven by improved confidence in the economy, Barclays Capital estimates.

Advertisers will spend more in the so-called upfront market as carmakers’ spending rebounds, prices increase and more buyers seek to lock in pricing for the year, Anthony DiClemente, a Barclays analyst, said in a report today.

Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, CBS Corp.’s CBS, News Corp.’s Fox and NBC are planning programming presentations for advertisers in May to kick off negotiations. Prices for commercials sold closer to air date are averaging 15 percent to 25 percent higher than ads sold in advance of the current season, DiClemente said. Upfront ad prices may rise by a “high-single-digit” percentage, he said.

This year’s estimated upfront sales are still as much as 7 percent lower than the peak spending for the 2008-2009 broadcast year. The networks may sell 77 percent of commercial time in advance, compared with 70 percent last year, he said.

CBS and Fox may see increases of more than 20 percent in dollar volumes from a year ago because they have boosted their ratings this season, DiClemente estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

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