After a breakneck 9 months of sales through September, we heard in November that NBC was suddenly unable to sell anymore $3 million Super Bowl ad spots — something about the economy blowing up. As late as January, word was the network still had much as 10 spots available.
Now we’re beginning to see the fallout. NBC now says it plans to use a whole five minutes of its Super Bowl ad time — about $30 million worth — to promote its own primetime shows.
NBC has also been forced to sell airtime to its parent-company, GE, its own Web video joint venture Hulu, the Universal Studios theme park and Universal Movie studios. We don’t know it to be true, but its hard to imagine those companies — all part of the GE empire — didn’t get substantial discounts off the $3 million per 30 second spot rate NBC bragged about getting earlier this year.