Upfront as Easy as ABC


ABC made it official Tuesday, announcing that it had almost completed its strong upfront, racking up $2.7 billion in sales with price increases of 4%-6%.

The robust upfront total provided by ABC reflects an increase in year-to-year potential revenue of more than 30%, with about $600 million estimated for primetime-sports sales, which includes Monday Night Football, the National Basketball Association and college football’s Bowl Championship Series, according to a press release from the network.

This week, some cable networks are predicting that their upfront businesses will get rolling, but that remains to be seen, as the market is moving at a snail’s pace compared with last year.

ABC, the first of the “Big Four” to complete its upfront sales, was in the catbird seat for the 2005-06 season due to surprise hit shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives.

“Clients responded very positively to our new primetime schedule and the incredibly strong performance of our hit freshman series,” ABC Television Network, president of sales and marketing Mike Shaw said in a prepared statement. “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.”

The “Alphabet Network” also said Super Bowl XL next year will be the highest-rated and largest revenue-generating TV event.

ABC is also predicting that there will be strong scatter sales this season.

“This year’s robust marketplace reflects the significant strides under way at the ABC Television Network to heighten our competitive momentum in primetime, while simultaneously extending our audience gains throughout the day,” Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney said in a prepared statement.