The deal was done with client-specific strategies in mind, one executive said, and the metric used was Nielsen's new commercial ratings, live plus three -- meaning that any viewers who watched the commercials three days after they aired would be counted. Cost-per-thousand rates were not disclosed.
According to media buyers who spoke with Ad Age, NBC in general was asking for 10% to 12% increases in its CPM rate, while ABC was asking for 12% and Fox was the most aggressive, asking for 14%. Last year, NBC booked $1.9 billion in upfront sales. Combined, the broadcast networks booked an estimated $8.5 billion to $9 billion last year.
Going to NBC first is a smart strategy for buyers, since it is in the weakest position of all the broadcast networks due to its declining ratings last season. By starting with NBC, media buyers may be hoping to set the bar for any negotiations that follow.
WPP's Group M, which is the parent company for media agencies Mindshare, Mediaedge:cia, Maxus and Mediacom, works with marketers such as Ford Motor Co., Pfizer, Kimberly Clark, American Express and Microsoft's XBox.