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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

TV execs, eager to court advertisers for their fall programming lineups, are turning to virtual "upfront" presentations to court marketers.

The intrigue: The "upfronts," a series of elaborate advertising pitches and parties that networks use to secure dollars ahead of time for their fall seasons, have been forced to go virtual for the first time this year due to the pandemic.

Driving the news: NBCUniversal ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino led a virtual presentation with her staff yesterday — usually an elaborate affair at Radio City Music Hall.

  • But instead of providing juicy details about the network's fall lineup, Yaccarino and team used the webinar event to assure marketers that "once we know the details about Sunday nights ... you'll be the first to know," referring to the network's Sunday NFL programming deal.

What's next: Unlike NBC, Fox announced a tentative fall schedule on Monday, filled with scripted and reality TV series that it can bank on producing, instead of elaborate shows that it may not be able to pull off during the pandemic.

  • ViacomCBS will host two virtual upfront presentations next week.
  • Disney, the parent company to ABC and ESPN, is hosting smaller presentations with ad buyers.

The bottom line: TV advertising, which was expected to be down around .4% this year, including the Olympics and elections, is now expected to be down nearly 13% this year, per ad buying agency MAGNA.

Go deeper: Ad market expected to take a big hit in 2020

Go deeper

Dozens of local stations blacked out for Dish customers amid pandemic

Dozens of local news and sports stations across the country are blacked out for customers of satellite TV giant Dish Network after it failed to renegotiate programming fee agreements with the station owners.

Why it matters: Dish is known for being a shrewd negotiator when it comes to hashing out fees with station owners. But its recent slew of local blackouts is creating an enormous local news draught for many communities during the pandemic.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.