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NBCU Says It Has Completed Upfront

Related: NBCU Reports Big Gains at Broadcasting Unit

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that NBCUniversal has completed its “most successful” upfront.

Roberts, speaking on Comcast’s earnings call Wednesday morning, said that prices for commercials in NBC’s primetime were up 12.5% on a cost-per-thousand viewers (CPM) basis. He didn’t specify how much volume rose.

Roberts said that NBCU had a different story during the upfront from its competitors in part because of its unified approach to the market. NBCU sells its broadcast, cable and digital assets together.

He also said that NBCU’s “Big Night” strategy was attractive to viewers. The strategy emphasizes nights in which NBCU has a rating above a 5 among adults 18-49. Roberts said that NBCU expects to have 70% of those nights.

NBCU is the last of the big broadcast-owning media companies to end its upfront negotiations. NBCU was aggressive in terms of pricing, and that meant it took a while to complete a deal with some buyers, notably GroupM, which has one of the largest client portfolios

.On the call NBCU CEO Steve Burke said that both broadcast and cable had double digit increases in prices. Volume was up 10% on broaddcast and about 5% overall, he said.

Burke said there was plenty of volume and NBCU could have done more business, but it decided to focus on higher-profit sales, particularly on cable.

On cable, CPMs were up 13% on USA, 12% on E! and 10% on Bravo.

Burke said he thought that NBCU price hikes were a few percentage points bigger than other similarly situation networks got in this upfront.

The advertising market is strong and advertisers are recognizing that while digital is a part of the advertising mix, they need the reach of TV to launch new product, Burke said.

Burke pointed to the Olympics, in which NBCU’s ratings will be about three times the combined ratings of ABC, CBS and Fox. For a marketer, “that’s a tremendous value proposition,” he said.

He added that the scatter market continued to be strong.