Upfronts: NBCU/Group M still not there yet
For a moment it looked like the upfront saga between NBC and Group M might finally be over. B&C sister publication Variety reported that NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman confirmed that a deal was done between the two parties.
Silverman was speaking Wednesday at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm: Tech event in Pasadena. NBC was working furiously to correct that misapprehension, saying the talks are closer to being wrapped up but aren’t there yet.
Several other attendees tweeted from the event reporting that Silverman described CPM declines as being “not as bad as forecast” and that volume would take a hit. No details on what the CPM levels are. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether a known CPM market even materializes this year with every conversation shrouded in the utmost secrecy. All previous rules of engagement are off.
In years past, a CPM number would emerge for each network and then agencies would walk away with a slightly better rate than the number appearing in the press.
Media agencies would use the size of their billings to secure the best deal for their clients - with each client getting the same rate (albeit off different initial bases). The thinking was: the bigger your media agency, the better the deal. One agency chief we spoke to Wednesday said that model has broken down this year. Individual clients are deciding their own numbers and telling agencies that if their buyers are negotiating for say a 7% roll-back on upfront pricing across the board, great, but they want a 10% roll-back. No wonder so little business is being done.