NBCU Brings In Nearly $6.5 Billion In Upfront, Tripling Its Volume Of Audience-Based Buys

The result of NBCUniversal’s 2017-2018 upfront: Bookings volume increased by 8% to nearly $6.5 billion, according to the company.

Although total volume growth was slightly softer than last year’s 10% increase, NBCU clocked positive momentum across its portfolio.

NBCU commanded high single-digit CPM increases across all inventory, including late night and sports. (Those figures don’t include tentpoles like the Olympics, Super Bowl and World Cup – NBCU didn’t break out the specifics about how that trifecta performed.)

Separately, cable entertainment CPMs across networks like Oxygen and Bravo TV also had high single-digit increases in CPMs while NFL sales volumes were up 5% for Sunday and Thursday football. 

Digital video commitments across NBCU’s portfolio were strong – up 42% versus last year – while revenue generated by digital partnerships (such as BuzzFeed, Vox and Snap) increased 68% compared to last year, to $125 million.

NBCU’s ad sales chairman appeared to make good on the network’s push to drive more audience-based upfront deals, as NBC’s Audience Studio tripled its number of “data-driven” commitments over last year.

Although NBCU was an early mover in programmatic TV, its “high-touch” client partnerships team, which collaborates directly with advertisers on opportunities like branded content, drove 26% more revenue this upfront season than last.


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