Viacom Finishes Major Upfront Biz

Network group goes for volume over pricing again

Viacom has inked the last of its major upfront deals, pulling in increases of between 2 percent and 7 percent—two among clients who opted to increase volume 10 percent or more; seven among buyers who opted to remain flat. It's the third year running that ad sales head Jeff Lucas has gone for volume over pricing, and the result is that he and his team negotiate concurrently with the broadcasters.

The company has been dogged by low ratings on MTV and a major fall-off on Nick in 2010 from which that network is only now beginning to recover. Still, Nickelodeon controls over half the GRPs in the kids marketplace. It also rebranded and moved two hours from its Nick at Nite brand (sold as a different network sharing the same linear space, a la Turner's Adult Swim/Cartoon Network demarcation) onto Nick Jr. as of last year. The new block, NickMom, was engineered to appeal to moms watching TV after their kids went to bed, from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Viacom's other properties include Comedy Central, BET and VH1.