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International: NBC upfront champ with $2.65 billion score

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International: NBC upfront champ with $2.65 billion score

With the TV broadcast upfront virtually completed, NBC has made a bigger score than first realized.

NBC pulled in $2.65 billion -- well above its $2.4 billion projection. NBC, a unit of General Electric co., posted 7% to 9% price increases, called CPMs -- the cost per thousand viewers -- and sold 83% of its inventory, well above levels of a year ago.

Media executives said the Viacom network is writing business somewhat slower than other networks, having only sold about 50% of its inventory so far; CBS is attempting to extract higher CPM increases than NBC, shooting for the 10% to 11% range.

Though Walt Disney''s ABC had a bad year, the influx of strong ad dollars have helped it to ring up $1.4 billion with 4% to 5% CPM increases. Its nearest competitor, Fox, will pull down $1.3 billion. News corp.''s Fox, another network, which had a hard season with low ratings, also received 5% CPM raises.

The WB, part of AOL Time Warner, grabbed $530 million, while Viacom''s other network, UPN, booked $210 million; both saw double digit CPM increases.

In citing NBC''s big day, Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment, said: "Obviously we are gratified advertisers had as much confidence in our schedule as we did."


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