The broadcast TV networks are smack in the middle of upfronts — the spring/summer season where they sell most of the advertising for the coming year. How are things going at CBS? Not too hot.
The downside: The network, like its peers, has fewer eyeballs to sell than in the past, says CBS sales chief Jo Ann Ross. But, she says, her team is getting a higher rate (in TV terms, that’s CPM, or cost per thouand) for the eyeballs it does have.
“The volume will be down a little, but the CPM increases will be there,” she said at PaidContent’s EconAds Seminar. Keep in mind that Jo Ann is a saleswoman, so by nature she’s supposed to be bullishly optimistic. Hence our translation: CBS is looking at a year of flat ad sales, at best.
Asked by Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield if she thought the network could rely on CPM increases to make up for ratings declines in the coming years — in other words, is the network TV business doomed? — Jo Ann said she didn’t know. But she said that CBS “looks at this every day — how do we turn this around? How do we change business models with cheaper production or less-expensive talent?”
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