Sunday, July 22, 2018

Double-Digit Nickelodeon CPM Growth Powers Strong Upfront Gains for Viacom

After more than a month of relative silence, media companies are now crossing the upfront finish line once again.

WWE's John Cena at Nickelodeon Upfront 2018

On the heels of Discovery, Inc., wrapping its negotiations, another major cable portfolio—Viacom—has also put the finishing touches on this year’s upfront market.

Heading into this year’s upfront with a new network (Paramount, formerly known as Spike) and several recent acquisitions like Whosay and VidCon, Viacom put questions about its future aside to secure upfront CPM (cost per thousand viewers reached) increases in the mid-to-high single digits for its non-kids networks and double-digit growth among its Nickelodeon networks (including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick).

It was Viacom’s strongest upfront pricing increases in a decade, sources close to negotiations revealed to Adweek.

Buyers responded to the company’s increased digital capabilities, with strong demand for Viacom Digital Studios, which made its NewFronts debut this year. The company quadrupled the upfront deals for its Viacom Vantage data platform.

There was also robust interest in MTV’s momentum, with shows like Jersey Shore Family Vacation.

Viacom’s upfront haul was bolstered by movie studios, which are increasing their spend across the company’s portfolio. Last year, in the first upfront under ad sales chief Sean Moran and CEO Robert Bakish, the company saw high single-digit increases and positive volume growth.

For the second straight year, Viacom skipped big upfront presentations, other than its Nickelodeon event, for intimate agency dinners, during which the network presidents, Moran and Bakish made their pitch to marketers.

Those Presidents Dinners focused on how far Viacom had come in the past year and not on parent company National Amusement’s efforts to re-merge Viacom and CBS (which has led to a legal battle between CBS and National Amusements).

Sean Moran

Regardless of how things shake out with CBS, Moran told Adweek in April, “We’re excited about our own position, because we feel like we’re in a much stronger position this year than we were last year and how all the brands and the flagship six are doing, both from a ratings perspective and a multiplatform perspective.”

In addition to its networks, Viacom successfully pushed in the upfront for partnerships with influencer marketing company Whosay, which it bought in January, as well as VidCon, which it acquired in February.

During upfront negotiations, Viacom weathered the loss of two network chiefs, each of whom had been at the company for decades. BET CEO Debra Lee departed in late May and Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami exited shortly after. Zarghami’s departure, however, seemed to have no effect on upfront talks, given Nickelodeon’s big gains this year.

Several media companies finished their upfront talks in mid-June, but until the past day, no one else had crossed the upfront finish line since CBS did so a month ago.

Discovery has also just completed its upfront talks. However, several other companies, including NBCUniversal, Turner and ABC have yet to wrap their upfront negotiations.

Also, from Broadcasting & Cable:

Viacom Gets Price Gains In Upfront Ad Deals

Digital video gains traction

Viacom has finished its upfront, racking up mid-to-high single digit growth for its adult networks as a relatively strong market starts to wrap up, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Nickelodeon and Viacom’s other kids networks generated double-digit price increases on a cost-per-thousand viewer basis.

In recent years, ratings challenged Viacom has been known to trade price moderate price increases for additional ad dollars but this year, the company was more aggressive,= according to media buyers.

But with relatively new management at both the corporate level in CEO Bob Bakish and in ad sales, with ad sales chief Sean Moran, Viacom’s price increases were the biggest in years.

In addition to its cable network inventory, Viacom saw demand for its expanded digital video capabilities, In addition to its regular upfront presentation, Viacom Digital Studios also was a presenter during the Digital Content NewFronts.

There was also interest in the expanded range of marketing opportunities being offered, including live events, like the Comedy Central Clusterfest and Nickelodeon’s Slimefest, and recently acquired WhoSay and Vidcom.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Unveils Content Pipeline Of More Than 800 New Episodes, Details Expansion Into Location-Based And VR Experiences | Nick Upfront 2018!
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