Nickelodeon and Group M Close to Upfront Deal

$300 Million Pact Would Include Kids and Adult Brands

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NEW YORK ( -- Nickelodeon's Kids and Family Group is close to wrapping one of the first major upfront deals of this year with Group M, according to two executives familiar with the negotiations. The deal is said to be valued in excess of $300 million.

The deal would include all the Nickelodeon brands for both children and adults, including Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin and Nick Toons, and is said to represent significant volume growth for the cable networks.

A spokesman for Group M had no comment, and a spokesman for Nickelodeon could not comment.

Racing for revenue
An early deal would put Nickelodeon ahead of cable counterparts such as ESPN and Turner, which held their respective upfront presentations alongside the broadcast networks this week. The agency and cabler have been quick on the draw in the two most recent upfront sales periods; Group M closed 2007's first major deal with NBC, valued at $800 million, and MTV Networks (Nickelodeon's parent) wrote $300 million worth of business in 2006 with OMD.

Group M media agencies represent marketers such as AT&T, Ford Motor Co., Burger King, ConAgra, Hasbro and Warner Bros.

The deal also comes amid chatter that NBC is close to finishing business with at least one major agency. The broadcaster was in front of agencies a month early this year when it introduced its 2008-09 programming schedule ahead of its upfront presentation, which focused more on NBC Universal's company-wide offerings.

NBC has already closed at least one branded-entertainment deal with General Motors, which will integrate its brands into the fall Christian Slater drama "My Own Worst Enemy."
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