NBC is wrapping its upfront in a different way than its broadcast-network brethren, securing more – not fewer – advance advertising commitments for its fall schedule.
The NBCUniversal-owned outlet expects to notch approximately 15% more in ad commitments for its primetime entertainment programming, than it did in 2013 according to a person familiar with the situation. Last year, the broadcaster of “The Blacklist” and “The Voice” nabbed about $2 billion. That could mean NBC secured around $2.3 billion from advertisers for its 2014 schedule, which excludes sales around “Sunday Night Football” and the Olympics.
When adding sports and the rest of the broadcast-network schedule to the mix, the person familiar with the network suggested NBC had notched approximately $2.5 billion in advance ad commitments for the fall. The company notched about $6 billion in commitments for its entire media portfolio, the person said, encompassing broadcast, digital and cable.
CBS and ABC have both largely completed their upfront sales process, with media-buying executives estimating both networks lost volume for 2014.
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said his company “led the market in both rate of change and volume growth this upfront.” CBS said in a statement earlier this month that it was very “confident that CBS has once again achieved the highest pricing and most total dollars in the upfront marketplace.”
Burke also said NBCU had “made tremendous progress in correcting our historic monetization gaps,” a reference to NBC having lost parity with its rivals over the last several years as it struggled with declining ratings. “Through significant investments in our programming, the turnaround at NBC and our strategy to approach the market as one portfolio, we are confident that we are well positioned as leaders moving forward.”
NBC held out for more sizable pricing increases than its competitors. NBC sought hikes in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, a measure known as a CPM that is central to these annual discussions, of between 7.5% and 8%, essentially flat with what it sought in 2013.
The network is believed to have sold about 80% of its inventory in the upfront, according to the person familiar with the network, approximately the same as it did in 2013.