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NBC Wraps Upfront With Increase In Volume

Advertisers show interest in "The Blacklist," "The Michael J. Fox Show" as Peacock increases ad commitments in tough market

Does the Peacock have more wind under its feathers?

NBC has wrapped its upfront sales process with an increase in the advance advertising commitments it has secured from sponsors for its coming programming season, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Including football, NBC secured around  $2.1 billion for its prime-time schedule, The network has in years past typically secured around $100 million in sports-programming inventory, which would leave approximately $2 billion for its prime-time entertainment programming alone. NBC secured between $1.72 billion and $1.74 billion in last year’s market.

If that’s the case, NBC would be  the only one of the five English-language broadcast networks so far to accomplish the feat in what is expected to ultimately be a flat to down year for ad dollars committed to ABC, CBS , Fox, NBC and the CW overall. ABC has not unveiled completion of its upfront process.

This is the second year NBC has been able to increase the advertising commitments it has secured, after seeing declines in volume for a stretch of time owing to significant ratings declines. While much of its prime-time schedule remains in flux, it does broadcast two of the most significant generators of audiences between the ages of 18 and 49 – “Sunday Night Football” and “The Voice.”

NBC sold approximately 80% of its inventory in the upfront, compared with 78% to 79% last year, this person said. The network was able to secure an increase in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, a measure known as a CPM that is key in upfront talks, of between 7% and 8%, according to ad buyers. In last year’s upfront, NBC was able to secure CPM increases of between 5% and 7%.

Fox, CBS and the CW completed their process several weeks ago, but NBC’;s case was delayed by two factors. For one thing, the network held out for a greater increase in  CPMs – something many buyers resisted this year as advertisers held more tightly to their money, And the company came to market trying to convince advertisers to buy broader ad packages across the entire portfolio of media outlets owned by parent company NBCUniversal.

An NBCU spokeswoman said executives were not immediately available for comment.

Advertisers showed specific interest in two new programs on NBC’s fall schedule, according to the person familiar with the negotiations: “The Blacklist,” a Monday-night drama that will have the network’s popular “The Voice” as a lead in, and “The Michael J. Fox Show,” a new Thursday-night comedy featuring the popular actor in a return to a lead starring role in broadcast TV.

NBCU also saw robust demand for its Spanish-language broadcast network Telemundo, cable networks USA and Bravo and its online movie-tickets service Fandango, this person said.

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