NBCU Says Upfront Market Returns Biggest In Its History

In a now-rare disclosure of specific upfront gains for any TV network group, NBCUniversal says its year-old Peacock streaming service pulled in $500 million in upfront “commitments” for the upcoming 2021-2022 TV season starting in September.

Looking at the bigger picture -- alluding to its 16 established TV networks, local, digital platforms and other assets -- NBC says it delivered “double-digit percent increases in volume and pricing” in upfront deal-making.

The company says the market was its biggest in history.

While it didn’t reveal dollar specifics here, for the 2019-2020 TV season upfront selling period -- the last like-to-like non pandemic period -- all of NBCU’s platforms  amassed $7 billion in upfront commitments.

Upfront commitments mean advertising media buying promises made by marketers for the entire TV season running from September through August, with cancellation options customarily up to 25% in the first quarter, and 50% each for the second and third quarter.



For this upfront selling period, NBC says there were big volume increases in advertising categories including movie studios, travel, technology, social media/streaming platforms, financial and pharmaceutical marketers.

Looking just at NBCU’s digital video platforms (including Peacock) over the last 12 months shows, it pulled in $1.5 billion in advertising revenue, 20% higher than in 2019.

Ad results here includes revenues from other platforms including YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Sling TV, Roku, Xbox, Vizio, Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Hulu, Instagram, Twitter, and among others.

NBCU also revealed it pulled in $100 million in national TV advertising before the Peacock launch on July 15 2020. By way of comparison, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max said, earlier this year, it had $80 million in prelaunch upfront deals for the platform’s advertising option which started June 2021.

NBC’s sports TV advertising deals made gains as well -- including for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and “Sunday Night Football.” For its upcoming Super Bowl LVI for 2022, 85% of inventory is either sold or in discussion to be sold.

NBC claims among all its screens, company-wide from Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky, it reaches 700 million people.

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