Programmers have best upfront in 3 years, sell $18.6 billion worth of ads

Broadcast and cable networks sold $18.6 billion worth of advertising in their just-completed upfront market, reversing several years of declines with a 4.5 percent uptick, according to research firm Media Dynamics. 

TV's collective revenue increase of $800 million this upfront comes at the expense of digital platforms. Advertisers, previously enamored with the Internet and mobile, have become increasingly concerned with issues such as ad blockers.

"What we are seeing is partly a reaction to the many issues plaguing digital media, which, until recently was seen as a potential alternative or supplement to linear TV," said Media Dynamics, President Ed Papazian,

Each spring, broadcast and cable networks sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming TV season in a market called the upfront. Last year, according to Media Dynamics, programmers sold $17.8 billion worth of ads, a 3 percent decline over 2014.

From 2013 to 2014, the slip was measured at 4.4 percent. The recession in the TV ad market came after decades of double-digit yearly gains. 

Viewership on linear networks, of course, has been in steep decline, with TV watchers now assailed with other options, such as SVOD. 

However, after sampling digital platforms, a number of agencies are putting their ad dollars back into linear TV because they can't find comparable reach on other platforms.

For the 2016-17 TV season, the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is, on average, going up on the tube. Media Dynamics estimates that to reach 1,000 adults 18-49 on a broadcast network in prime time, the cost will rise from $43 to $47. The comparable audience on a cable network will see CPM prices increase from $29 to $31. 

For more:
- read this Media Dynamics press release
- read this Los Angeles Times story

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