NBCU Trails Rivals, Earns Nearly $1B Less In Revs

For all its success of a year ago, Steve Burke, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal, says the network is behind other competitors -- especially when it comes to advertiser pricing.

Speaking at a Bank of America media conference, Burke says the other broadcast networks -- CBS, Fox and ABC -- make $500 million to $1 billion more in revenue than NBC does each year, with much of this coming from a disparity of advertising revenue.

NBC sells prime-time at lower cost-per-thousand viewer pricing (CPMs) at less, analysts have said. Burke now says NBC is at a 20% discount to other networks.

"We sell our ads at a discount -- about a 20% discount, which we're working on closing. Our ratings are lower than we would like them to be, and so broadcast remains a very big opportunity,” says Burke.

According to media buyers, Fox gets the top price in prime-time when it comes to adults 18-49 CPMs -- somewhere between $30 and $35 for the price per thousand viewers.

Still, Burke believes this discount will slowly disappear, although “it may not be in a year.”

NBC rating gains from a year ago specifically came from “Sunday Night Football," “Revolution” and “The Voice.” Burke hopes these shows and the Winter Olympics will continue -- especially in launching the network’s new spring/midseason shows.

It is not just with broadcast network programming, but NBC’s cable networks have also seen a pricing gap: “There's a monetization gap -- which is what we call it -- between how those channels are doing and how they should be doing, measured by how peer cable channels are doing,” he says.

Although NBC has gained in retrans revenues to $200 million a year from near zero some years ago, Burke says NBC is still behind other networks. All that should improve, as 75% of NBC’s distribution deals expire over the next three years



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