In decades past, the networks’ sports departments were usually given just a sliver of the overall time in any upfront presentation. In 2021, Fox Sports is stepping out on its own. The Fox Corp. unit on Friday put on a separate presentation to advertisers, rather than just having Joe Buck take up a few seconds of the proceedings during the usual Monday-afternoon pitch devoted to the Fox broadcast network.
In the midst of a record revenue fiscal year fueled by an election cycle that elevated ratings, Fox News is launching a streaming weather channel and will start to sell ads on its subscription streaming service Fox Nation, where lifestyle programming might be appropriate for some advertisers. Jeff Collins, EVP, advertising sales, at Fox News Media, is looking to increase revenue again in the upcoming fiscal year and he’s counting on a dramatically changed news environment, with less emphasis on politics, to attract otherwise skittish advertisers.
This year’s annual spring ritual known as the upfront, in which advertisers commit to buying commercials for fall programming, is expected to bounce back from a tepid 2020 and show more ad dollars migrating to streaming platforms.
Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group and The Weather Group, will continue his crusade to win equity and inclusion for Black-owned media in the world of advertising by headlining the first Black-Owned Media Upfront. The event, set for May 11 and 12 from noon to 2:30 p.m. ET, will turn a spotlight on the programming and audiences of his companies and others involved in the movement. Register here to participate.
General Motors, one of the nation’s largest advertisers, is trying to build new roads for minority-owned media outlets, part of a broader push on Madison Avenue to address a large gap between what is spent on large national media properties and media companies operated by owners from diverse backgrounds.
Media buyers are more optimistic in 2021, but they said they’re looking to spend less upfront and more programmatically, according to a study by the IAB. The group said that optimism among buyers has increased in just the past five month when its last survey was taken. In the new survey 21% were very confident and 40% were confident. Just 11% of buyers said they were not confident.
Major TV networks are pushing brand TV advertisers to shift a significant part of their linear, live TV upfront budgets — 20% to 30% — into media company-owned connected TV platforms, according to media-buying executives. This comes a year after legacy TV-based media companies ramped up premium streaming CTV platforms, while recording sharply declining viewership on live, linear TV networks. “It is where their inventory is,” explains one veteran media agency executive.
TV One announced its programming slate of new and returning series and specials at its upfront presentation on Thursday. The presentation, led by TV One and Cleo TV President Michelle Rice and other executives, revealed that Cleo Speaks, Jazz Smollett and Jake Smollett’s Living by Design, Just Eats with Chef JJ and Jernard Wells’ New Soul Kitchen will return this year.
The virtual event will premiere May 17, highlighting the company’s programming, scale and aggregation by taking marketers inside iconic shows across one platform.
Fuse Media is doubling down on delivering to blended households and young, Latinx and multicultural viewers. As cord-cutting accelerates and viewing hours increasingly favor streaming, the media company has built a new streaming division to do it.
Univision said that ahead of its May 18 upfront presentation, it will hold an event for advertisers that will introduce the company’s new management and its new direction to advertisers. The new event — set for March 24 — will be titled “A New Vision at Univision.” Earlier this year Univision was acquired by a group headed by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis.
Fox sats it will be holding its upfront presentation on May 17 and that, in addition to its entertainment and sports programming, this year’s event will showcase Tubi, the ad supported streaming service it bought last year.
WarnerMedia joined the list of media companies announcing plans to hold a virtual upfront event in May. “WarnerMedia will host its Upfront on Wednesday, May 19, in a virtual event to showcase its entire portfolio of offerings to advertisers. The event will take place in the morning,” a WarnerMedia ad sales spokesperson said.
Moving away from demographics metrics, A+E Networks says this year’s upfront deals with advertisers will shift to total audience guarantees as its primary mode of transaction. Demographic viewing groups — 18-49 viewers and 25-54 viewers, for example — will be offered as secondary guarantees. This will apply for all its networks — A&E, Lifetime and History — for its upfront deal-making. A+E will hold a virtual upfront presentation on March 3.