TV’s upfront advertising market for primetime over-delivered — for both broadcast and cable networks — with 6% more revenue versus the year before, according to a new estimate. Total TV upfront ad revenues hit $19.7 billion — $10.6 billion for cable networks (up 7.6%) and $9.1 billion for broadcast networks (4.1% higher), according to Media Dynamics, a media consultancy.
Despite the upbeat outcome, don’t expect too much celebrating. The television business continues to be under enormous pressure, with ratings trending down and consumers increasingly gravitating to ad-free video services offered by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
In the six years since its acquisition by Comcast, NBC has gone from last to first in upfront advertising selling.This year’s take of $6.5 billion is up 8% from last year.“This was our best upfront ever,” says NBCU’s Steve Burke.
New Fox programs The Gifted and The Mick were of particular interest to media buyers, while Empire and Star continue to be a draw.
NFL sales in the 2017-18 upfront bazaar have been softer than sellers originally had anticipated, and while the networks aren’t exactly scrambling for the Xanax, the volume of money that’s been held back suggests that the league’s media partners may be in for a white-knuckle fall scatter market.
Latenight’s Jimmy Kimmel and a slew of new kids’ offerings drew advertisers to Walt Disney’s Disney/ABC TV, which notched gains in the volume of advance advertising commitments it sold in TV’s annual upfront. The results — announced publicly by the company — offer another signal that the market for TV advertising has been healthier than expected.
CBS is headed to the upfront ad sales finish line with high single digit per-viewer pricing gains for its primetime inventory — and surprising strength for its morning and latenight programming. The broad strokes information suggests that CBS beat analysts’ expectations.
Advertisers attracted to a growing slate of superhero dramas and a revival of the long-running drama Dynasty helped boost upfront volume at the CW, another signal that the 2017 market for TV advertising could be more robust than had been previously expected. The CW expects a gain in volume of advance ad commitments of between 3% and 5%, according to a person familiar with the matter. This means the network, owned jointly by CBS and Time Warner, could have collected commitments worth between $490.9 million and $549.4 million.
While TV’s upfront advertising market continues early negotiation talks, one estimate now says total dollar volume will be down by mid-single-digit percentages — reversing versus gains of a year ago. John Janedis, managing director/media analyst of Jefferies LLC, estimates total volume will be down 3% to 5% for all national TV inventory, with broadcast networks generally outperforming cable networks.
NBCUniversal, Fox Networks Group and ABC are making progress in the early stages of the annual haggling over upfront advertising sales, according to people familiar with the discussions. The companies have all begun to sell ad inventory during the period in which U.S. TV networks seek to obtain commitments for the bulk of their commercial inventory for the upcoming season. Executives on both sides of the table caution that talks remain in their nascent stages and that buyers and TV networks continue to wrangle over pricing terms.
TV networks and advertisers have begun early-stage negotiations as part of the industry’s annual “upfront” ad-sales market, according to six people familiar with the pace of discussions. No one is believed to have begun writing business with any degree of earnestness, and several executives caution that marketers have yet to file their full budgets. But the uncertainty hasn’t kept players on either side of the bargaining table from trying to spark an early deal.
The 2017-18 upfront advertising marketplace will once again defy gravity, proving that what goes down also goes up. That’s the conclusion of an equities report by the research team at securities firm BMO Capital Markets after its researchers discussed various upfront supply-and-demand scenarios with buyers and sellers attending upfront presentations.
During the annual broadcast upfronts last week, most of the networks picked up right where they left off last year: reasserting their dominance by repeatedly pummeling digital advertising, especially in light of advertisers’ renewed concerns about online placement in offensive environments on platforms like YouTube. Some networks were able to tout breakout freshman successes, but they all attempted to convince wary buyers to devote even more of their advertising budgets to networks that continue to lose live linear viewers.
This Is Us goes up against the final season of Scandal and more noteworthy match-ups.
In presentations this week to promote programming for the 2017-18 season, sales executives from major cable and broadcast networks had to pull off a carefully orchestrated balancing act. Bigwigs from Fox, NBC and CBS took aim at Facebook, YouTube and other digital platforms in the hopes of wooing commercial dollars back to traditional media. At the same time, they talked up their own digital chops, as well as partnerships with and investments in digital companies.
As we close the book on another broadcast development season, here is Deadline’s annual honor roll of those who excelled at the 2017 upfronts. Also included is a list of pods and independent production companies with multiple series on broadcast and cable.
The CW is the final Big 5 broadcaster to unveil its 2017-18 schedule, and here’s the major headline: the network is moving roughly half of its established shows to new time slots this fall.
Among TV studios, Warner Bros. and CBS have the most new and returning shows for the 2017-18 season. Many networks are opting to renew shows made by their sister studios.
CBS has released trailers for some of its new comedies and dramas as part of its 2017-18 slate.
As expected, Big Bang Theory prequel spinoff Young Sheldon has landed on Thursday-at-8:30 following Big Bang. Also on the new-show front, David Boreanaz’ SEAL Team will air Wednesdays at 9, pushing Criminal Minds to 10 pm, and Shemar Moore’s S.W.A.T. has snagged the Thursdays-at-10 slot.
The narrative is not pretty. Across the board at the major media conglomerates, advertising sales reported in first-quarter earnings were flat at best or down sharply from year-ago benchmarks. Most of the majors are facing tough comparables from last year, when the presidential election cycle revved up demand and the scatter market was generally buoyant. Executives acknowledged that shaky demand in both domestic and international markets, coupled with the trend of declining live-TV ratings, made for an uphill climb.
Amid this year’s TV upfront hustle to lock down billions in ad-spending commitments, expect networks to more aggressively pitch Madison Avenue buyers on branded-content campaigns — which have exploded across social media during the current TV season.
ESPN “mapped” millions of fans “against all the possible emotions they would feel during any given game, [such as] happiness, anticipation, dismay … the list goes on.” Using this data, ESPN then worked with clients to see whether the “triggers” ESPN’s research team had discovered would spur real sales, or at least purchasing considerations.
The upfronts are here and ratings are down. Again. But each broadcaster has something worth selling. (Especially if it’s sports.)
Univision executives gave a big plug to the multicultural programming on cable net Fusion and the efforts to diversify the range of programming on the mothership broadcast networks during its upfront presentation in New York today. “What marketers thought of as multicultural media is fast becoming mainstream,” Steve Mandala, Univision’s EVP of ad sales, told the crowd of media buyers gathered at the Lyric Theater.
ABC will be looking to make a splash in midseason with the American Idol and Roseanne revivals. In the fall, the network will be introducing one new comedy series, The Mayor, and four new dramas, The Good Doctor, The Gospel of Kevin and the straight-to-series Marvel’s Inhumans and Ten Days In the Valley.
Focus at its upfront is on creating better viewer experiences, brand storytelling, impact and reach.
Linda Yaccarino, the new head of advertising sales for NBCUniversal, has reoriented herself to take on even online behemoths.
Two Kardashians also make an appearance as the NBCU portfolio-wide love-fest mostly overshadows the No. 1 network’s fall plans.
Ad buyers will spend billions, as they did last year, to be a part of the TV season, knowing that, ratings aside, television still reaches more people than digital ads.
Consumers have been seeking ways to avoid ads — signing up for ad-free subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video or digitally recording television shows so they can zip through the commercials. But network execs are determined to hold on to their pieces of the pie. They are working more closely with advertisers to weave products into the story lines of TV episodes and producing more shows that viewers will watch live.
Big broadcast and cable networks will try to put a positive spin on declining ratings, audience fragmentation and cord-cutting when they present their programming plans for the 2017-18 TV season to advertisers this week in New York.
Fox Sports’ current upfront push marks only the third time the unit has held a series of autonomous agency presentations. Last spring, the sales team embarked on a six-city tour that touched down in major markets like Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco, and a 2013 event here in New York served as the coming-out party for the cable network FS1. And while the broadcast mothership traditionally has set aside just a few minutes for sports during its formal mid-May upfront event, some buyers are of the opinion that Fox Sports should assume a far more prominent role during next month’s dog-and-pony show.
You might be in trouble if you look to Wall Street analysts to help you anticipate how this year’s upfront ad sales season will play out. In reports out this morning, Jefferies’ John Janedis predicts it will be “weaker than a year ago,” while BMO Capital Markets’ Daniel Salmon expects it to be “stronger than ever.”
In time for upfront season, the companies will approach advertisers together to offer marketers a single point of access to reach 100% of U.S. smartphone users across more than 80 premium media companies.
Azteca America led off the 2017 wave of Latino network Upfront showcases in New York. It’s the second straight year Azteca, now with TV stations in 67 markets carrying its Spanish-language content, went first.
AMC Networks kicked off its spring ad sales efforts at an event Thursday night in New York that grouped all of its five networks under one upfront umbrella for the first time. They are: AMC, SundanceTV, BBC America, WEtv and IFC. The theme of this upfront was audience engagement and quality content.