Despite weakness in the current scatter market, NBCUniversal is pretty much finished with its upfront ad-market deals, with total volume near that of a year ago, according to Jeff Shell, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal.
“So we're pretty much done, just a smattering of things still finishing up,” said Shell, speaking at the Credit Suisse media conference. “High single digits [percentage increase] was our pricing... we had expected kind of mid-single digits coming into the upfront. So I'm thrilled with that.”
Shell is somewhat concerned, however, over current conditions with two major national TV network advertising categories: Automotive and pharmaceuticals.
“You see lots of weakness in the auto industry... driven by the fact they have no inventory on the lots. So it's probably not an inflationary impact. It's a supply-chain issue,” he says. “We've seen some weakness in pharma also due to the fact that there's a backlog of new drugs that have been approved by the FDA as they focused on COVID.”
Due to NBCU’s growth in streaming -- especially with its two different advertising-supported options -- it believes it has an advantage over some other network groups.
“There's a couple of others that are close to us, but I think we probably sell the most advertising now given that we have Peacock as well.”
Some other TV network groups may disagree, like Disney Advertising.
MoffettNathanson Research says, for example, Disney’s Hulu will rise to $2.7 billion in advertising revenue this year.
Still, MoffettNathanson estimates that Peacock is the strongest among the rest -- projected to come in at $1.3 billion in advertising sales this year, way ahead of discovery+ ($391 million); Paramount+ ($370 million); and HBO Max ($229 million).
“We've ramped that up to a level that next to Hulu is probably second to anybody in the industry. We are getting CPMs at the broadcast level.”
MoffettNathanson estimates that "effective" CPMs (cost per thousand viewers) for all content -- after adjusting for all ad-revenue sharing, and direct sales versus programming deals are factored in -- has resulted in $33 CPMs for Peacock this year.
NBCU competitors are also almost finished with their upfront deal-making. Bob Bakish, president/chief executive officer of Paramount Global, at the same event, said the company's upfront deals were 80% to 90% done -- also at high-single digit percentage increases. Steve Tomsic, chief financial officer of Fox Corp. said its deal-making price hikes was set a bit higher -- at around 9% to 12%, for its heavy news and sports content -- also near the finish line.