TV Upfront

That's a Wrap on the Broadcast Upfront

NBC Concludes Ad Talks With 12.5% Price Increase

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Jimmy Fallon performs during NBC's upfront presentation to advertisers in May
Jimmy Fallon performs during NBC's upfront presentation to advertisers in May Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal
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Mr. Burke confirmed what media buyers said during negotiations, that big cable networks wound up turning money away. That was the result partly of long-term ad deals with marketers guaranteeing smaller price hikes off lower bases and partly of reduced inventory due to ratings declines.

Still, despite TV networks' leverage during negotiations, it was still difficult for some, including NBCU, to finalize deals with WPP's powerful GroupM, according to buyers and other people familiar with negotiations. The world's largest media buyer was determined not to pay aggressive price hikes on behalf of its clients.

NBCU may have taken lower price hikes on some of its smaller cable channels like Chiller, Cloo and Oxygen in an effort to secure higher prices for NBC primetime and USA, according to several buyers.

Most of broadcast wrapped up the bulk of their negotiations by the July 4 weekend. CBS secured price hikes north of 10% with dollar volume up between 3% and 5%, according to a person familiar with negotiations. That brought its overall advance commitments to about $2.5 billion.

ABC got similar price hikes of about 10% with dollar volume between about 2% to 4%. Fox saw volume gains of 3% to 5%, while its overall portfolio saw dollar gains of about 5%. The CW set a personal record, with its overall volume topping $500 million, a 12% to 14% increase in volume compared to last year. The network also commanded low double-digit price hikes.