The ABC Television Network has nearly completed upfront primetime sales for the 2005-2006 season, attracting estimated advertising commitments totaling approximately $2.7 billion, with CPM increases in the 4-6% range. This total reflects an increase in year-to-year potential revenue of more than 30%, with approximately $600 million estimated for primetime sports sales, which includes “Monday Night Football,” the National Basketball Association and the Bowl Championship Series. Although not included in the upfront tally, ABC will also broadcast the highest-rated and largest revenue generating television event in 2006, Super Bowl XL. The total hours of these sports and special event programming equates to six weeks of primetime programming.
The announcement of ABC’s robust position in the national advertising marketplace during this annual selling period was made today by Mike Shaw, president of Sales and Marketing for the ABC Television Network.
“Clients responded very positively to our new primetime schedule, and the incredibly strong performance of our hit freshman series,” said Mr. Shaw. “And the good news doesn’t end at prime. We’re also seeing strength in our other dayparts such as news, daytime and early morning.”
Based on the high-quality mix of ABC’s programming and the strong reaction of media buyers to its midseason shows, ABC believes there will be an upside to scatter sales this season. In commenting upon this, Mr. Shaw said: “Historically, in the last 12 out of 13 years, the scatter marketplace for all networks has seen increases over upfront pricing, so having the right inventory to sell in scatter can give you a strategic advantage.” Mr. Shaw noted that ABC’s sales and marketing strategy is predicated upon 52-week revenues.
“This year’s robust marketplace reflects the significant strides underway at the ABC Television Network to heighten our competitive momentum in primetime, while simultaneously extending our audience gains throughout the day,” added Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. “We’re gratified by the tremendous interest our new schedule is generating among national advertisers and their agencies, and we’re proud of the amazing efforts put forth by Mike and his entire team to accommodate this enthusiasm.”
ABC finished the 2004-2005 season up 12% in Total Viewers, up 16% in the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic and up 15% among Adults 18-34, the largest increases of any network over the prior season in viewers and across the adult demos. In fact, the 16% Adult 18-49 increase from one season to the next was the largest for any major network in at least 25 years – since ABC began tracking the key young adult demographic. ABC delivered its highest-rated May Sweep in four years among the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic, with the biggest increases of any network among Total Viewers (+23%) and Adults 18-49 (+28%) from last year. The season finale of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” was the no. 1 program telecast during the May Sweep in Adults 18-49, topping the “American Idol” finale.