New York -- Mattel Toys and its agency, TN Media Inc., were
among the negotiating stragglers for the kids' upfront, several cable networks
reported last week.
They and some smaller toy advertisers had not yet finalized
their 1998-99 kiddy buys, industry sources said. Once concluded, those deals will likely
swell the upfront-dollar total by tens of millions of dollars, they added.
Unlike TN -- which is said to be the third-largest
kids' buyer -- Grey Advertising and Leo Burnett USA, the top two kids' buyers,
completed their upfront deals about three weeks ago. At that point, buyers and sellers
felt that the overall kidvid upfront probably held even with the year-ago total of $850
million for the cable- and broadcast-television networks and syndication.
Cable's share of the kids' upfront, however, grew
to perhaps $440 million from $365 million last year, these sources estimated at that time;
Nickelodeon was said to have amassed $300 million, and Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. --
chiefly for Cartoon Network -- $100 million.
Rick Sirvaitis, president of ad sales at Fox Family
Channel, has steadfastly declined to discuss the kids' upfront until all of the
network's deals are finalized. But other sources speculated that Fox Family grossed
$30 million to $40 million.
A Fox Family spokesman indicated that the network's
cost per thousand homes was "on target -- somewhere between Cartoon and
Nickelodeon." But none of the networks or agencies would discuss CPM levels in
Going into kids' upfront negotiations, some agency
buyers had projected total growth of up to 5 percent. Afterward, those same buyers
described the upfront as a "correction," affecting mainly broadcast networks and