TV Upfront

NBC Universal Wraps $6 Billion Upfront

Peacock Struts With Highest Dollar Volume, CPM Hikes

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NBC Universal has closed out the last of its 2015-16 upfront business, writing nearly $6 billion in advance commitments across its portfolio of broadcast and cable assets. The media conglomerate said its overall dollar volume was up 2% versus last year's take.

In a statement, NBCU said the market "responded favorably to the innovative ways we are reaching and targeting our audiences," a reference to its programming mix and the various data products it has put into play.

NBCU also said that its digital video sales were up 50% in this year's bazaar.

People outside the network familiar with the dealing said NBC's broadcast division earned some of the industry's highest ad-rate hikes, pricing inventory up 5% versus the year-ago period. Dollar volume at the network was up 1%. That diverges from the rest of the marketplace, which is believed to be down anywhere between 5% and 8%.

Once again, the many caveats about upfront numbers and whether they amount to a hill of beans are spelled out here. As for the verifiable financial figures, per its annual 10-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, NBCU in 2014 generated $9.38 billion in ad sales revenue, with broadcast accounting for $5.88 billion and cable raking in $3.49 billion.

As was the case a year ago, NBC estimates include its prime-time entertainment programming as well as the "Sunday Night Football" package and late-night fare.

People familiar with the negotiations said the NBCU tally also reflects early sales of inventory in and around its presentation of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro. The 2012 London Games generated $1 billion in ad revenue.

Automotive, entertainment, tech and pharma were particularly robust categories for NBCU.

NBCU executives may offer further insight into the company's upfront dealings during its July 23 second quarter earnings call.

With NBCU wrapped, ABC remains the last English-language broadcast network in active negotiations.

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