In a report titled "Thoughts to Entertain," Lehman Global Equity Research previewed the broadcast network Upfront presentations, as they expect total dollars generated by the broadcast network primetime Upfront to be flat to slightly down for the Big Four networks, driven by CPM increases of +5% to +7%.
This week Lehman believes Fox and CBS present ad buyers with the most stable schedules of the Big Four. While Fox is likely to win the A18-49 crown driven by a reduced baseball broadcast schedule (maximum of 14 games versus 26 last year) and back-half strength from 24 and American Idol, CBS appears well-positioned to again win the season for household ratings, benefiting from its significant cushion over second place and its schedule consistency.
ABC has the greatest number of new series, making its ratings the least predictable overall but with the best potential for upside surprise. The report says NBC remains exposed to further potential declines, as the network added very few new programs and is facing fierce competition on Thursdays.