NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told analysts and investors
Wednesday that the company will continue to move towards closing what he called
the "entitlement gap," or the disparity between the ad rates and retrans fees
the programming giant receives compared to its peers.
On a conference call with analysts to discuss second
quarter results, Burke said that some cable and broadcast channels received as
much as 20% higher CPMs for their networks than NBCU. The programming giant has
said in the past that its retransmission consent fees for its NBC broadcast
stations and affiliate fees for its cable channels like USA Network, Bravo and
Syfy are below its peers. Burke said NBCU is beginning to close the gap on the
advertising side -- it recently completed
its upfront ad sales, raising CPMs at its cable networks by about 7% to 8%.
He added that its broadcast network sold about 13% more advertising in the
recent upfront than last year. He added that CPMs and ratings for the broadcast
network were better than they had been in nine years.
One of the catalysts for the increases, he said, was the
programmers approach to selling advertising across its properties together.
"We're chipping away at the entitlement gap," Burke said on
the conference call. "We think it is a big opportunity for the company. It's
not something we are going to get in a quarter or even a year but I think in
the next two , three, or four years you will see real progress there."