Despite its ratings woes, Fox was able to hike its ad rates by 5% to 7% for prime-time commercials for the 2013-14 television season, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The
Ratings declines at all the broadcast networks seem to be taking a toll.
"Buyer demand has come in a bit weaker than last year with 'reported' pricing in the mid-single digits," Nomura Securities media analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a report early Wednesday. He noted that "the underlying TV economy is not growing, while dollars are shifting out of broadcast and into cable."
Nonetheless, Fox has big hopes for a brighter season.
In February it will televise the biggest event of the year, the Super Bowl, and the network plans a dramatic overhaul of its longtime tentpole,
Nearly the entire cast of "American Idol" and two top producers have been herded off the stage, joined by the network's top executive for unscripted shows.
David Hill, the colorful former chairman of
Last week, the No. 1-ranked
Walt Disney Co.'s
The market is called the upfront because broadcasters sell roughly two-thirds of their commercial inventory in advance, or "upfront," of the new season. Advertisers like to place their orders during the upfront market because networks will provide ratings guarantees. Networks then are on the hook to compensate advertisers for audience shortfalls. Buying leftover time later in the year is more risky for advertisers because prices are typically higher and networks don't guarantee their ratings.