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TV Networks still angling for advertising

June 18, 2009 |  7:00 am

Network executives are searching for some sparklers in their sales divisions, and hopefully before the Fourth of July holiday.

June is usually the time of year when the broadcasters ring up billions of dollars in commercial sales for the coming television season. But that hasn't happened so far this year. Declining audiences, an extremely fragile economy and bankruptcy filings by cash-strapped U.S. automakers – traditionally among the biggest TV advertisers – have made it more difficult for network executives this spring to sell commercial time. By this time last June, the networks had already booked more than $9 billion in prime-time advertising commitments in the so-called "upfront" market.

Now a month after unveiling their new fall shows as bait, the networks still haven’t hooked any big-fish advertisers. Network executives declined to discuss the situation at length, but acknowledged that although their lines have been empty, they expect ... hope ... the upfront auction to begin with a big boom within the next few weeks. 

-- Meg James

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