Starcom, Bravo Agree to Minute-by-Minute Deals

Cable Upfront on Track to Close at $6.5 Billion

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bravo has become the third cable network to agree to do upfront deals based on minute-by-minute data with Starcom, following similar deals by Discovery networks and Nickelodeon in previous weeks. Other NBC Universal cable networks have also completed upfront deals with Starcom for the 2007-08 upfront, with Starcom about 70% finished with its cable ad buys, according to an executive familiar with the negotiations.
The Bravo deal marks the first time an NBC Universal network has utilized the minute-by-minute commercial data Nielsen made available in January 2006.
The Bravo deal marks the first time an NBC Universal network has utilized the minute-by-minute commercial data Nielsen made available in January 2006.

A first for NBCU network
The Bravo deal marks the first time an NBC Universal network has utilized the minute-by-minute commercial data Nielsen made available in January 2006. Starcom is the only media agency offering minute-by-minute guarantees to its marketer clients this year, after similar deals with AMC, WE Women's Entertainment and the Weather Channel last year.

"We made a commitment to our clients to offer better accountability and measurability based on the metrics that matter most to them," Mike Pilot, president-sales and marketing at NBC Universal, said in a statement. "Our minute-by-minute deal for Bravo ... is truly about partnership and learning together in the changing media industry, and we're thrilled to work with Starcom as we explore new and innovative ways to create the greatest value for our advertisers."

Having been equipped with minute-by-minute data for 18 months now, the agency has seen a growing interest from cable networks to utilize the findings for their clients buying airtime.

Engaged viewers
"We're able to analyze any changes, see how things are working -- that's the beauty of minute-by-minute data," said Christine Olson, Starcom's VP-media director. "Bravo has been one of the networks to engage viewers more with interactivity, which made them a great partner for us. ... If the ultimate goal is to increase accountability, it's likely this will be the metric everyone's going to. We offered minute-by-minute guarantees last year, so why not partner with us this year?"

Added Starcom's VP-director of broadcast investment research, Sam Armando: "When you share the data with these partners and open up discussions to talk about concerns on both ends, a lot of qualified concerns come up. We're more able to answer a lot of questions and be able to [solve engagement] together."

The cable upfront is still predicted by several key executives to finish flat, compared to last year's $6.5 billion take, and could wrap as early as week's end. Lifetime is essentially done and the NBC, Discovery and Scripps networks are also well on their way in the negotiations process.
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