NBC Co-Chairman Ben Silverman said that the decline in prices for upfront advertising were not as steep as first forecast, but that the sell-through would be a lot less than in 2008.
“We haven’t made as much of the volumes deals as last year, when we were selling 80-85% of inventory upfront,” he said at the Fortune Brainstorm confab on Wednesday in Pasadena.
Many big brands “sat out” the upfront, he said; NBC has still not closed its deal with upfront advertisers, months after the fourth place network’s presentation.
Silverman said broadcasters were counting on some brands coming back in 2010 and were holding back inventory and counting on that, particularly for car companies that were undergoing financial reorganization, such as GM, and who are usually huge traditional advertisers on the networks.
“We think (there) will be marketers who sat out the upfront because of reorganization” who will come back," he said. “Chrysler will have to go in and rebrand strongly….We’re all collectively playing for that return.”
He added: “There’s more inventory saved for scatter. We’re anticipating a rebound in 2010.”