Independence from Upfront by July 4?


A number of sales executives were already looking forward to celebrating July
4 with some symbolic fireworks to mark the near end of cable's 2002-2003 upfront

Discovery Networks U.S. executive vice president Bill McGowan bullishly
predicted Friday that 'virtually all' of the upfront will have been concluded by
the Independence Day weekend. That's in sharp contrast to last year, when buying
dragged into the Labor Day holiday.

Generally speaking, McGowan said, 'Most of the big agencies and most of the
big deals' will be done by July 4.

'Things have gone well, the finish line is in sight,' Turner Broadcasting
Sales Inc. spokesman Jim Weiss said. 'But given the surprising nature of this
year's [upfront] season, we won't predict when we will cross it.'

It was a busy period for Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp., president of
national-network ad sales Arlene Manos said Thursday.

Manos said she expects 'moderate increases in CPMs [costs per thousands] and
being up a fair amount in volume.' Those projections are being met, she

RASCO was selling two networks -- American Movie Classics and WE: Women's
Entertainment -- in the upfront for the first time. Business has been 'going
quite well,' she said.

ESPN/ABC Sports president of customer marketing and sales Ed Erhardt
indicated that upfront sales are well on their way.

'Leveraging our primetime sports Sunday night, Monday night and the Super
Bowl is having a positive impact on the marketplace,' he said.

MTV Networks has notched high-single-digit and low-double-digit CPM
increases, according to executive VP of research and planning Betsy Frank.

'We are not getting mired in the double-digit decreases of Lifetime
[Television] and USA [Network],' she said.

General-entertainment networks have not fared all that well in this upfront,
but Frank said MTVN's entry in the sector is an exception. TNN: The National
Network has seen 'double or triple the revenue of a year ago,' she