NBCU touts record upfront, Peacock doubles ad sales commitments to $1B

NBCUniversal on Thursday touted results from a highly successful upfront ad sales season, saying the 2022-2023 global, national and local upfront it was its highest grossing since Comcast’s acquisition of NBCU more than a decade ago.

With talks completed, NBCU’s upfront revenue exceeded $7 billion, according to AdWeek.

The most recent upfront season marked the highest for NBCU in digital, streaming and advanced advertising. Digital and streaming intake saw almost 20% year over year growth, with NBCU’s streaming service Peacock doubling advertising sales commitments year over year to more than $1 billion.

Peacock had strong subscriber growth in the first quarter, when it added 4 million subscribers to end march with over 13 million paid subs and 28 million monthly active accounts in the U.S. During its NewFronts presentation, Peacock showcased two new ad formats including Frame Ads and In-Scene ads.

As for upfront results NBCUniversal highlighted its One Platform, along with assets like Comcast and broad industry partnerships, incorporated into upfront discussions as “driving a halo effect for the industry across unified, enterprise-scale partnerships” and pushing its total to new records, with over 48% year over year growth.

The company marked notable growth across several categories including retail, QSR, CPG, technology and social and streaming. The pharmaceutical industry outpaced all others with a nearly 40% increase in upfront commitments, followed by a returning travel industry, which marked a 30% increase.

NBCU also saw “record-breaking investments in advanced advertising,” increasing by more than 30%.

And the company pointed to the future of measurement, disclosing the highest adoption of new currency models as 40% of its upfront business was conducted outside of traditional age and gender currency guarantees.

There was 20% growth in Upfront commitments in each broadcast entertainment, the NFL and multicultural segments, which NBCU says collectively demonstrates “the power of impact culture-defining content, and the scaled partnership opportunities NBCU brings to the marketplace.” It noted Hispanic rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup as driving incremental revenue. Cable, meanwhile, also saw strong demand with pricing on-par with broadcast rates.

“Advertising is a futures market, and if the results of this Upfront say anything, it’s that we have built the future our partners want.” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of Global Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a statement. “The momentum of this year’s Upfront is underscored by our commitment to bring both simplicity and flexibility to a complex marketplace. Whether it’s advertising technology and data, an ad supported streaming service, premium content opportunities founded on our iconic IP, we deliver a comprehensive one-video ecosystem that yields impact for all our partners.”

Before heading into this year’s upfronts, NBCU unveiled its fifth annual lineup of commercial innovations, spanning AR for immersive metaverse-type experiences to sequential ad storytelling to pull consumers through the purchase funnel throughout the day, as well as retro ads to contextually align with the time period of a show, and eye tracking to measure attention metrics before ads go to market.

Josh Feldman, global chief marketing officer for NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships, told Fierce Video last month that custom research showed consumers who engage with commercial innovations from NBCU are 88% more likely to remember a brand involved and 79% less likely to change the channel – effectively keeping eyeballs where marketers want them.