What Ratings Decline? NBC Sells $1.9 Billion in Advance Primetime Ads

zucker060608 What Ratings Decline? NBC Sells $1.9 Billion in Advance Primetime AdsAccording to several news reports today, though it is currently in fourth place among the broadcast networks, NBC has wrapped up its advance advertising sales this year with successful results.

And they didn’t even throw an upfront!

Earlier this year, NBC executives announced that they would eschew the traditional TV time frame, not show pilots to advertisers at an upfront presentation, and would roll out new programming all year long.

"NBC’s intention to announce a new sked in April—and then follow with a mix of small meetings and one big Gotham pitch—promises to disrupt the usual upfront selling season by giving the net a full month’s head start on dealmaking," Variety reported back in February.

Four months later, that approach appears to be working.

From the L.A. Times:

The fourth-place network, home of the hit game show "Deal or No Deal," said it racked up $1.9 billion in advance prime-time advertising sales for the fall season. The total surprised many people not only because of the network’s low ratings but also because it managed to sell the commercial time without making the traditional TV pilots to show Madison Avenue.

NBC is the first of the five broadcast networks to finish its sales in the "upfront" market, when the networks sell the bulk of their commercial time for the coming season. NBC executives described the sales as robust — nearly $100 million above last year’s total — despite an economic slowdown and ratings that fell about 10% in the just-completed season.

From the New York Post:

General Electric-owned NBC landed $1.9 billion in ad deals for the upcoming TV season, compared with $1.8 billion during last year, NBC insiders said.

The Peacock network got a head start by holding a no-frills sales presentation, which it dubbed an "infront," more than a month before the other major broadcast networks. ABC, CBS and Fox are still in talks with advertisers. (News Corp. owns Fox and The Post.)

NBC’s overall take reflects higher pricing, along with its decision to put more ad inventory into the upfront rather than selling it later in the year. The network sold about 80 percent of its ad time in advance, up 4 percentage points from 2007