Pharmaceuticals was among the strongest category in the upfronts, according to NBCU, with a nearly 40% increase above all other industries, closely trailed by a 30% increase in spending in the travel category.
NBCU also reported a 30% increase in advanced advertising deals, which are those informed by data that help brands more specifically target audiences beyond the traditional age and gender demographics.
The company said it saw 20% growth in broadcast entertainment, the NFL and multicultural segments, due in part to Hispanic rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The company exceeded its volume from last year for the largest in its history, a source close to the matter told Ag Age.
'High single digits'
NBCUniversal saw CPM increases in the “high single digits” during this year’s upfront, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell previously said during a Credit Suisse investor conference, referring to the cost to reach 1,000 viewers. NBCUniversal said earlier this month that 40% of its deals had been done on alternative currencies to Nielsen.
The announcement follows news from most major media owners that negotiations have closed or are near finalization. Disney was said to be finalizing upfront negotiations for its primary linear network, as well as its marquee streaming service Disney+ as of last week, though the company declined to comment as of Thursday. Upfront negotiations for networks including Paramount and Fox were nearing a close as of mid-June, executives said.
The CW, meanwhile, finalized its own upfront negotiations in mid-June. A person familiar with the situation told Ad Age at the time it had seen CPM increases of 9% to 11%, with strong volume in digital. Sellout was around 80% for this year’s upfront, similar to years past, despite economic headwinds that have threatened to impact ad budgets this year.
Buyers and executives have expressed this year that budgets have been in flux throughout negotiations as marketers attempt to navigate market volatility. Though Microsoft, a major ad spender in TV, exited the upfronts this year entirely, sources familiar with negotiations said that it was unlikely another major player would pull from the upfront market entirely.
“I think more likely you’ll see cuts to budgets versus just completely cutting out of the upfront 100%. I wouldn’t anticipate that so much,” one media buyer said, but added that “meaningful cuts” could still occur.
Trailing this year’s upfront market was Warner Bros. Discovery, which was said to have used its newfound scale to price CPMs above what buyers believed to be reasonable for the market. As of mid-June, negotiations were said to be wrapping up with most major networks. However negotiations with the newly combined company were “still just starting up,” one buyer said.