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NBC Makes Gains in Upfront Sales

With an improving schedule and a strong NFL football franchise, NBC's registered an increase in upfront sales, according to people familiar with the situation.

In what has been a fairly flat market overall for the broadcasters, NBC was priced attractively relative to its big network competitors and was able draw more advertising commitments in prime time than last year, when it sold about $1.8 billion worth of commercials in the upfront..

At the same time NBC was able to push up its rates on a cost-per-thousand-viewers basis by 6% to 7%. After several years in which NBC's prices fell, then trail significantly behind market increases, the Peacock network's gain this year were nearly on par with the other broadcasters.

NBC sold close to 80% of its inventory during the upfront, about the same as last year.

NBC was also able to see some of its digital advertising inventory in packages with its TV advertising.

On Tuesday, CBS and ABC finished up their upfront sales. CBS' volume was up slightly from a year ago as prices rose 8% to 9% but the network retained more inventory for scatter. ABC's sales were flat on price increases of 6% to 8%.

Fox, which along with ABC, made the first round of upfront sales, still hadn't finished making deals, according to sources.