NBC Books $2.1 Billion in Upfront Commitments
NBC has finally wrapped its upfront sales. Buoyed by the success of The Voice and top-rated Sunday Night Football, the network booked $2.1 billion in primetime upfront commitments on 80 percent of its inventory for the 2013-14 season, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
That marks a 20 percent increase in volume over last year's take of about $1.7 billion. The delay was in part due to NBCUniversal ad chief Linda Yaccarino's commitment to achieving integrated deals, which bundled the network's vast cable and digital assets with broadcast. The strategy appears to have paid off; USA, which will bow off-net reruns of Modern Family this fall, realized advantageous pricing for the comedy. Digital also is up year-over-year. And NBC primetime booked CPM (cost per thousand viewers) increases between 7-8 percent.
ABC is the remaining broadcaster still in upfront negotiations. Ad sale president Geri Wang is holding out for CPM increases between 7-8 percent in spite of the network's fourth-place finish in the 18-49 demographic last season.
Fox, CBS and the CW concluded the bulk of their upfront deals in June. Fox was forced to settle for lower CPM increases, in the 5-7 percent range on 80 percent of its primetime entertainment inventory, due in part to a double-digit ratings decline last season. The network was down 10 percent in volume to about $1.7 billion compared to last year's $1.9 billion. Fox sells 15 hours of primetime each week, compared to 22 at CBS, ABC and NBC, while the CW has 10 hours.
CBS and the CW were flat year-over-year in dollar volume. CBS secured CPM increases of about 7.5 percent on average with $2.65 billion in dollar volume. The CW realized CPM increases between 5-6 percent on about 75 percent of its inventory, for about $400 million in upfront commitments.