It appears that advertisers who bought in the Upfront got a bargain – and that the networks were smart to hold back inventory.
“We believe Q4 network [and] cable scatter finished up in the high teens vs. the upfront, with some networks up 20%+,” Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker said in a note to clients. “Scatter for 1Q10 also remains strong, up similar levels to 4Q vs. the upfront, with scatter over scatter positive,” she added.
That was certainly confirmed by what General Electric CFO Keith Sherin said Friday about NBC Universal ad sales – and he even mentioned 30%+ for some networks.
At the UBS media conference last month in New York, CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves put scatter pricing up 25% in Q4 and the next day Disney CEO Bob Iger added that in some cases “it is substantially higher than that.”
Based on the more recent comment from Sherin, things only got better in the past month. The recovery, it seems, is real.