NBCU's Upfront Hits $7B, Digital Up 50%

NBCUniversal has completed its upfront advertising negotiations for “all screens” -- broadcast, cable, and digital -- with a 10% increase to $7 billion versus the upfront selling period a year ago.

These results include upfront deal revenue for next year’s 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Taking those results out, NBCU’s upfront posted a 3% hike. By way of comparison, NBC pulled in $1.2 billion for the 2016 Rio Summer Games.

TV upfront advertising deals are made before the start of the next TV season, which runs from September through August of the following year.

For its prime-time programming on the NBC Television Network, the network posted an average 14% hike in the price (cost) per thousand viewers (CPMs); cable programming saw a double-digit percentage pricing hike.



Overall, NBC averaged a 9% increase in CPMs across all networks/platforms/digital media.

NBC said it took in a 8% hike in total dollar volume from NFL programming, its “Sunday Night Football,” and a 6% rise at MSNBC, its cable TV news network.

The company says digitally “native” and technology companies were its largest buying category, with nearly $1 billion in total sales during this upfront. 

NBC says this includes so-called FAANG companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. In addition, big spenders include technology products, social platforms, streaming services and direct-to-consumer businesses.

Sales volume from these digital companies grew 25% versus last year’s upfront, adding four of its top 25 upfront ad spenders that are in this category.

Releasing some of its first data ever with regard to its upfront media deals for digital platforms, NBCU says digital video volume grew 50% to nearly $1.3 billion. NBC says its large digital native clients spent 92% of their buys on linear TV.

NBC adds that its CFlight metric, which measures a marketer’s entire campaign on all NBC networks/platforms with a unified number, helped the rise in upfront dollar volumes. NBC started CFlight a year ago.

So far this upfront selling season, other TV networks groups -- CBS, Fox, the CW, WarnerMedia’s Turner network, Univision and Hallmark Channels -- also claimed double-digit percentage CPM gains for their upfront advertising markets. They had anywhere from flat to 3% gains in total volume, according to media-buying executives.

Next story loading loading..