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NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke: Brands still see TV as ‘fundamental’ to campaigns

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke: Brands still see TV as ‘fundamental’ to campaigns

NBCUniversal chief executive officer Steve Burke has told the Royal Television Society’s London Conference, ‘Full Stream Ahead’, that the broadcast industry can look forward to a long and successful commercial future.


Burke outlined how, as a result of increased choice, there was increased expectation from consumers, making it necessary to figure out as an industry how to pay for “all this new, higher quality programming”.

“It’s ironic that developing funding models for our new reality comes so late in the process of change, but it’s a result of the pace at which our industry has changed,” he said.

“If we had refused to respond to consumer demand for more high quality content because we couldn’t get our spreadsheets to balance out we would most certainly have gone the way of the music industry. It’s because we responded to the consumer demands that we’ve still got an industry to talk about.”

“Clearly advertisers continue to see TV advertising as fundamental to their overall campaigns.”

Last year, CPTs in the UK reportedly grew 7% and this year the US ad sales upfronts resulted in an average 10% increase in CPTs across broadcast networks, according to Burke.

“I’m certainly not claiming our current models are not threatened. I just don’t see them collapsing as quickly as one might believe. There is still much to be done to accurately track viewing behaviour and advertising impacts in the new world of on‑demand.”

Discussing the so-called ‘death’ of the 15-second ad slot, Burke said that television is still a “very good business”, and that it will remain a going to be a very good business for a long time.

He said that, despite predictions 20 years ago that broadcast television would cease to exist be now in the US, the industry makes more today than it did then.

“I do think it’s unlikely that in the next 10 or 20 years the television business is going to grow the way it has in the last 10 or 20, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a very good business. Shame on us if we don’t increase that growth rate or have ambition to increase that growth rate by investing in some of the new technologies,” said Burke.

“But to say that it’s going away, I think would be doing a disservice to ‑‑ these are still very good businesses and will continue to be.”