The Peacock’s in Play

The NBC Television Network has quietly begun contacting agencies about its media buying account in an effort to cut costs, sources said.

Last year, the top-rated network spent $120 million on measured media, and it spent more than $100 million through August 2001, per CMR. That figure does not include NBC promos running on the network.

The account is currently split between BCom3’s MediaVest and independent Horizon Media, which handles media buying for the network’s radio ac count. Both shops are based in Los Angeles.

Neither agency was available for comment.

NBC’s search was spurred more by a desire to ensure it is getting the best deals than by dissatisfaction with the incumbents, according to sources.

“The financial pressures on that company have been enormous,” said one source. “They have been looking at every area, and this is an area that has also been discussed.”

The talks, said another source, are part of NBC parent company General Elec tric’s ongoing pro cess of monitoring vendors.

Sources said NBC has not issued an RFP, and it is unclear when a decision will be reached or which other agencies may be participating.

“We’re not commenting on this,” said a representative for the client in Burbank.

Planning and creative are handled by NBC’s in-house advertising and promotion entity, The NBC Agency.

NBC is home to a number of top-rated programs, including Friends, ER, Frasier, The West Wing and Will & Grace.