NBC Books $2.52 Billion in Upfront Commitments, 12 Percent Gain

Virginia Sherwood/NBC
"The Blacklist"

“We are very pleased to have led the market in both rate of change and volume growth this upfront," said NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, noting the net's double-digit increases.

NBC has largely sold out its upfront inventory for the 2014-15 television season, securing $2.52 billion in commitments, the network said Tuesday.

That's up 12 percent compared to last year's $2.25 billion. Excluding sports, NBC's primetime and late night are up 15 percent year-over-year. NBC's Sunday Night Football was the most-watched program last season, commanding the highest ad rates in all of TV at $600,000 for a 30-second spot.

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For NBC, it has been a steady climb out of the CPM (cost per thousand viewers) basement as the network last season also realized double-digit volume increases. And a statement released Tuesday by NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke stressed the company's headway in that area.

“We are very pleased to have led the market in both rate of change and volume growth this upfront," said Burke. "We also have made tremendous progress in correcting our historic monetization gaps. 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.”

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Thanks to the durability of The Voice, SNF, and top-rated new drama The Blacklist, NBC finished the 2013-14 season atop the Nielsen charts in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic for the first time in 10 years.

Last season, under ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino, the company began bundling its broadcast, cable and digital assets. This year, that portfolio netted commitments of $6 billion compared to $5.4 billion last year. Interestingly, the company booked 75 percent of its digital inventory in the upfront, a steep increase compared to last year and a signal that buyers are indeed looking for integrated media buys.