As buyers and sellers make plans for another upfront season, they face two issues that make it difficult for networks to increase revenue and for advertisers to reach as many companies as they expect. Ratings erosion for the linear networks is problem enough for anyone dependent on TV advertising. That problem is intensified by the networks’ propensity to overestimate how many viewers they’ll reach in order to have more inventory to sell, and the historic willingness of sellers to largely accept those inflated numbers in order to keep pricing down on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis.
Procter & Gamble, which spends millions to call attention to high-profile products like Crest, Tide and Pampers, said today it will negotiate directly with media outlets going forward — a move that is likely to take it out of typical “upfront” discussions that involve letting media-buying agencies utilize its ad spend for leverage in these annual talks between marketers and U.S. TV companies.
TV’s hottest properties this year may have little to do with the primetime lineup for which the medium is best known.
Advertisers are placing new emphasis on ad-supported streaming outlets like Walt Disney’s Hulu and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, while exploring opportunities with WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Fox’s Tubi and ViacomCBS’s Pluto, according to four media buyers and three other executives familiar with the pace of the industry’s annual “upfront” negotiations, when Madison Avenue and U.S. media companies haggle over advertising inventory in the next programming cycle.
Procter & Gamble, the company behind Pampers diapers, Crest toothpaste and Old Spice men’s grooming products, has begun striking deals with certain TV networks as part of the upfront, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A day after calling for “sweeping changes” to transform the ad industry’s inclusiveness and diversity, the Association of National Advertisers this morning issued another call for “sweeping changes” in the “media ecosystem,” and specifically called on the television advertising industry to move the annual upfront negotiating season from a spring/early summer marketplace purchasing a fourth quarter through third quarter broadcast year to a fall/winter marketplace purchasing a conventional calendar year.
The coronavirus outbreak is poised to upend the way TV ad dollars are negotiated this spring, pushing deal-making to later in the year, according to multiple network and agency executives.
“This could be the catalyst for something that probably should have happened 20 years ago — move to calendar upfront,” says Peter Olsen, EVP, ad sales and content partnerships, A+E Networks. “My guess is the fall season will get delayed because they can’t produce pilots.”
Viacom maintained upfront dollar volume across its networks/platforms by “doubling” media agency deals across its digital, social and advanced advertising businesses.
Viacom relied on Madison Avenue’s interest in new forms of video advertising to drive activity in the industry’s annual “upfront” market, but captured a level of advance commitments that was similar to last year’s benchmarks, a signal that the current ad market is proving more robust for broadcast TV than it is for cable.
WarnerMedia — mostly the Turner cable networks in terms of ad sales — saw the same single-digit growth in dollar volume as other programmers have seen, according to a source familiar with the situation. It also was able to secure price increases in the double-digit range on a cost-per-thousand viewer (CPM) basis.
Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the Crown Media Family Networks, posted double-digit percentage increases in the cost per thousand viewers and total dollar volume for the current upfront TV advertising market, according to the company. Crown Media did not reveal financial details.
The syndicated game show’s ad costs were unchanged despite the James Holzhauer winning streak.
This week, the big U.S. TV networks plan to drive the knife further into digital rivals, repeating the phrase “brand safety” and exploiting YouTube’s struggle to curb unsuitable content, during the upfront ad sales period when TV networks preview the fall season for advertisers.
The so-called upfronts are traditional television’s annual hype-fest, and a way locking advertisers into lucrative deals. They’re also a reminder of the medium’s continuing relevance.
A panel discussion featuring some of Madison Avenue’s biggest network TV buyers Thursday morning accused the network TV industry of misrepresenting itself in the previous year’s negotiations, even to the point of explicit fraud.
On the heels of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Co. just announced it will hold its first combined upfront event featuring their combined networks: ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic Networks. The event will be held May 14 in New York City.
The 2017-18 upfront TV market was a strong one, with gross media spending on broadcast up 2% and cable up 1%, according to new figures from Standard Media Index.
Upfront TV advertising revenue witnessed a 5.2% increase for the 2018-2019 TV season — similar to the rise a year ago. Combined broadcast and cable networks deal-making saw upfront TV advertising grow 5.2% to just over $20.7 billion, according to Media Dynamics, a media consulting/publishing company.
After a dramatic few days leading up to A+E’s splashy upfront presentation Thursday night, the cable programmer largely breezed past all of the corporate drama and put on a focused, 50-minute show emphasizing its networks’ strong bond with women.
A survey about this spring’s Upfront and Newfront presentations from Advertiser Perceptions found 36% of respondents wanted both “cross-platform measurement” and “better ways for advertisers effectiveness.”
Upfront/Newfront presentations continue to be of high value — in terms of more advertising money and attention, with digital video gaining in particular. One-third of advertisers have committed to more money in upfront spending, according to a study by Advertiser Perceptions, the ad researcher. This comes from a survey that interviewed 310 advertising and media executives during May and June.
High demand, rising prices and greater volume speak to buyers’ resurgent interest in television, as digital suffers from a growing backlash over viewability and fraud. But it won’t last long.
Time Warner’s Turner expects to snare a greater volume of advance ad commitments in TV’s annual upfront marketplace, between 2% and 4%, the latest indication that Madison Avenue is placing more emphasis on TV than it has in several years.
Despite the sad state of affairs that the upfronts couldn’t truly mask, some smart moves might be happening with the networks. Now that the upfront cavalcade of audacious dreaming is over, what does it all mean?
We’re well into the upfronts, as the major TV networks are wooing advertisers with sneak peeks of their schedules for the 2016-17 season. Once again, there’s a focus on new ways of reaching consumers as traditional commercials, which interrupt the programming that viewers want to watch, become less and less effective. Common in TV’s early days, sponsorships are coming back into vogue as a method to reduce clutter and make commercials more palatable by making them less annoying.
Turner-owned networks TNT, TBS and others announced a number of new shows Wednesday at the company’s upfront presentation in New York, but the cornerstone of the company’s pitch to advertisers was a vow to reduce commercial loads. “The consumer experience must come first,” said Donna Speciale, president of ad sales for Turner Broadcasting. “We’re dedicated to keeping our content bold, engaging and less cluttered,” she told ad reps.
CPMs are expected to rise 7% to 9%, and for the first time in three years, projections are that the broadcast upfront market will see a rise in total dollar volume — climbing 3% to 4% overall to $8.7 billion. Media agency executives are warning their advertising clients to expect sizable rate hikes.
The annual TV ad auction no longer works in the digital age, argue media buyers. It may take a few years, but they predict it will gradually fade away as programmatic comes to the fore.
With the 2016-17 upfront now in full swing, major programmers are taking the healthy scatter market as a sign of an improved market. But with advertising on digital platforms still leading on data insights, media buyers will be looking for TV to behave more and more like digital.
Yes, it’s time once again for nearly three months of Upfront and NewFront presentations in New York, starting yesterday (Wednesday, March 2) with Nickelodeon at Lincoln Center. The calendar for Upfronts/NewFronts lists 65 New York events from March 2 through May 19. The lion’s share of them are in May — 44 of them in 19 days — ranging from smaller media companies you might never have heard of to most of the biggies.
Audience fragmentation across hundreds of cable networks, the steady growth of video on demand and subscription growth with new virtual service providers like Netflix and Hulu have complicated this year’s upfront. In fact, each year cable networks are struggling to meet their upfront commitments, and available scatter ad inventory is becoming more and more scarce. Programmatic TV could be a solution that creates new upfront opportunities.
Two months out from the presentations, it’s shaping up as a good year for Spanish-language TV. Though the Hispanic upfront usually wraps up after the English-language broadcast networks are done, the Spanish-language upfront often breaks first.
Somewhat echoing what senior TV and media executives have been saying during recent financial earnings phone calls, one veteran media analyst believes the advertising upfront deal-making will be a decent — but perhaps not great — market. For the upfront advertising market, Brian Wieser, senior research analyst for Pivotal Research Group, says “national TV could see low single-digit volume growth, and high-single digit pricing.”
TV upfronts won’t be nearly the same in coming years. A new study says 63% of media executives believe TV upfront and digital “newfronts” will change over the next three years.
Advertisers committed fewer dollars to national cable TV networks for the first time since before the 2009-10 TV season, according to data released Thursday.
An MDI report says the upfront will be down 6.1% to $18.1 billion this year, marking the first time the numer will dip since the 2009-10 season. Broadcast is likely to be down about 10% and cable is down about 2%, according to sources familiar with the upfront market.
It has been another strong year for the Hispanic broadcast networks. Univision finished fourth in the February sweeps among adults 18-49 for the first time ever, topping NBC. Telemundo has seen huge year over year growth, setting an all-time primetime viewership record in April. And it’s no longer unusual for one or both of those networks to finish first or second in its timeslot among adults 18-34. But how will all that translate into ad sales?
The CW has renewed Gossip Girl and Nikita as well as freshman drama Hart of Dixie and ended the run of buzzy freshman dramas Ringer and The Secret Circle.
Hulu will promote its original programming to advertisers this week in the annual ritual known as upfronts that is typically reserved for cable channels and network broadcasters.