In a cost-saving move, NBCUniversal has decided to hold one single upfront presentation for advertisers this year. The traditional NBC event, which kicks off the broadcast upfront week at Radio City Music Hall, will now also accommodate the pitch to advertisers for cable siblings Bravo, CNBC, E!, Esquire Network, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, NBC Universo, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, Telemundo and USA Network.
The consolidation is not unprecedented — it comes a year after Fox Broadcasting Co.’s upfront presentation was rebranded as Fox Networks Group upfront last May. It showcased the entire portfolio of Fox TV networks, including FX and National Geographic, with a focus on the broadcast net’s new slate. Still, the Fox cable nets are still doing some upfront events, FX is holding its upfront Bowling Party in New York tonight.
Until now, NBCU’s entertainment cable networks have presented on Thursday afternoon of upfront week, with a separate Telemundo presentation. These are now being scrapped, with the May 16 Radio City Hall gathering as the only NBCU upfront event, hosted by NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal.
While media companies have been bundling ad selling across all of their TV networks for awhile, showcasing the broadcast networks’ upcoming lineups with glitzy upfront presentations has been a decades-old tradition. The consolidation comes as NBC is wrapping a strong season, which no doubt would’ve been the backbone of its upfront presentation, hosted by chairman Bob Grenblatt. Now it will be a highlight in the suite of networks top NBCU executives will be touting to advertisers.
“Our event will reflect the way we go to market as a unified portfolio which makes it easier for our clients to do business with us all together,” said Yaccarino. “There isn’t going to be an Upfront event as big and bold as this one.”