NBCU Sees Possibility of Another Strong Upfront

The biggest seller of television advertising is looking forward to the possibility of another strong upfront market.

Speaking on Comcast’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said that the company has a “good shot” of another big upfront.

“The national advertising market is very strong, And its been very strong now for a while,” Burke said.

In its fourth-quarter report, NBC broadcast ad revenues were up 12.4%. Its cable ad revenues rose 0.6%.   

“We had such a good upfront last year one would have assumed that scatter might slow down. That often happens,” Burke said. “That has not happened this time. All of the indications—options, cancellations—the type of shows people want to get into—suggest to me that we have a good shot of having another very strong upfront nationally.”

On the local side, Comcast Cable reported that revenues were up 14.9% to $728 million in the quarter. But excluding strong political activity, core advertising revenue was down 1.9%.

Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit conceded that core advertising has been a little softer than in the past.

“Auto in particular is a little bit soft, but I think it may just be cyclical,” Smit said. “We are making up some of the difference in advanced advertising. We’re seeing strong growth there and I think we’ll continue to build upon that capability going forward.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.