NBC Finishes Upfront 'Roughly In Line' With Last Year

Amid an uncertain TV advertising marketplace -- including disruptive strikes -- NBCUniversal has finished its upfront deal-making “roughly in line with" results of last year, according to company representatives.

Last year, NBCU said it took in $7 billion across broadcast, cable and digital platforms in upfront deals.

TV advertising analysts have estimated the entire upfront TV advertising market -- which regularly totals around $20 billion -- could see an overall rare decline in volume this year of around 5%. 

Media-buying executives were also targeting some declines in the cost-per-thousand viewer pricing (CPMs) of around 3% to 5%. NBCU did not reveal financial advertising specifics.

TV networks have been hit by multiple challenging factors heading into this marketplace.



This includes an ongoing writers' strike, which started this spring. This was followed recently by a strike of the Actors Guild SAG-AFTRA. All this has virtually halted scripted TV production for the upcoming fall TV season. 

As a result, many TV networks have had to switch gears -- programming unscripted or library content, already produced scripted TV series that have yet to debut, or non-U.S. original programs --  for the start of the TV season in September.

NBC says its fall lineup will have 19 hours of original programming per week, including five hours of scripted programming.

Compounding all of this, there has been weakness in the first- and second-quarter TV in selling inventory during the "scatter" market, with around flat pricing to that versus the upfront pricing set a year ago.

Scatter TV deals are where brands buy network TV advertising near planned airing dates.

On a more positive note, NBCU says its streamer Peacock has placed 30% more in upfront "commitments" versus last year, and 60% higher over the last two years. Last year, Peacock pulled in more than $1 billion in upfront advertising revenue.

Sports remains a major factor in driving upfront sales. NBCU says sports TV advertising deal-making witnessed revenue up 50% across broadcast, cable, digital and Peacock versus a year ago, largely driven by Peacock. Next year, NBC has the Paris Summer Olympics.

Brands using programmatic advertising have seen growth of 50% more versus this time a year ago, NBCU says. Programmatic deals can now be made across 17 advertiser demand-side platforms (DSP) where brands can air commercials closer to their air dates. 

Telemundo grabbed “double-digit” advertising upfront growth -- its highest volume since the 2019-2020 TV season. 

Just before the start of the upfront ad-selling period in June, NBCU has had some disruption of its own. 

Linda Yaccarino, NBC’s longtime senior advertising executive -- as chairman of NBCU Advertising Sales and Partnerships -- suddenly departed the company to become chief executive officer of Twitter.

Mark Marshall, formerly president of advertising sales and client partnerships of NBCU, became interim chairman of NBC advertising sales and partnerships.

Upfront deals are where TV networks typically sell to major brands and other advertisers around 70% of their full year TV advertising inventory before the start of a TV season which starts in September.

1 comment about "NBC Finishes Upfront 'Roughly In Line' With Last Year".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, July 21, 2023 at 8:23 a.m.

    Not mentioned. Do the figures include the Olympics? Is that why sports is up 50%? 

    If they're including Olympic dollars, then "about in line" with 22-23 is a pretty poor showing.

Next story loading loading..