CW closes out upfront with 11% CPM increases


The CW has wrapped its 2011-12 upfront negotiations, scoring between $400 million and $420 million in primetime advertiser commitments. The network sold somewhere north of 75% of its available inventory. The CW, a JV between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, boosted volume some 10% from a year ago, with CPM pricing up 11% vs. the 2010-11 upfront.

The CW’s upfront presenters included Dawn Ostroff, departing President of Entertainment, and Mark Pedowitz, the new President of The CW. Top of mind with advertisers were established shows like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, along with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to series television in the new drama “Ringer”; and another drama, “Hart of Dixie,” starring Rachel Bilson, debuting on Monday nights. Midseason brings the return and farewell season of “One Tree Hill” and new reality series “Re-Modeled” and “The Frame.”

Along with pitching media buyers on investing in convergence packages that included TV spots with spots in online streaming shows, Ostroff, Pedowitz and Rob Tuck, EVP/National Sales, also discussed two first-of-their-kind sales programs for the 2011-2012 broadcast season: The CW will be the exclusive television partner of the mobile smartphone app “shopkick,” which rewards The CW viewers with special discounts and rewards from advertisers while they watch.  The CW has also created a fully sponsorable game, “Cwingo,” that viewers play online and through Facebook during the live broadcasts of CW shows.

Fox last week wrapped its upfront with commitments adding up to $2.2 billion. Close to wrapping up this year are ABC with 10% CPM increases; and NBC, with reported 9% CPM rate hikes. CBS is seeing 14% increases.