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Upfronts 2010: NBC Closes Out Robust Broadcast Market

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NBC Universal said it completed its upfront advertising sales, closing out a robust market for the broadcasters that might have come close to recouping the losses caused by last year's recession.

In addition to its broadcast network, NBCU also finished selling its cable entertainment networks, including USA Network, Syfy, Bravo and Oxygen.

With Hispanic broadcasting and digital factored in, market sources estimate NBC sold commitments for about $4 billion worth of advertising across all dayparts, about the same as last year. That could be seen as a gain because last year's upfront included spending on Olympic programming.

For all dayparts, broadcast was up about 15% to about $2.5 billion. In primetime, where a year ago, NBC was trying to convince buyers to sponsor Jay Leno at 10 p.m., the network registered 15% to 20% gains.

NBC was able to secure price gains of about 7% on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis, a point or two less than its more highly rated broadcast competitors.

Sales volume for cable was said to be up nearly 20%, with price increases in the high-single digit range.

With NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and The CW all registering gains of 15% or better, sales volume rose to nearly the $9 billion level it reached in 2008, before the recession took its toll on the advertising business.

"This was a great upfront for the industry and our results reflect that," said Mike Pilot, president of sales and marketing for NBC Universal. "We saw market leading growth for our market leading properties, including Cable Entertainment, NBC News and Late Night programming, and our Primetime results saw above average growth as the market responded to our investment in new programming."