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Will Netflix crash upfront budgets?

Tim Baysinger
May 16, 2022
Illustration of the Netflix logo turning into a question mark and back.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Don't expect Netflix's plans for an ad-supported version to have much of an impact on the Upfront market.

Why it matters: As more and more streaming platforms bring in advertisers, that will only ratchet up the competition for the $70 billion that is spent in TV advertising.

The latest: The sentiment among ad buyers that spoke with Tim is that there remain too many unknowns around Netflix's ad model to earmark any significant amount of their client's money.

  • Even so, just the fact that Netflix is even a discussion topic during the Upfronts is proof of just how much — and how quickly — things have changed for the besieged streaming leader.
  • "I can't hold back significant dollars in hopes that all those things fall into place," Dave Campanelli, Horizon Media's chief investment officer, tells Axios. "I could put significant money there, and if it doesn't happen, then I'm left holding a big chunk of money that I'm having a hard time getting down because I missed the upfront."

What's next: A source at Netflix cautioned that the ad plan is still very much in its infancy.

  • Netflix first has to get a sales team in place for them to be taken seriously as a place for ad dollars. The company has held talks with The Trade Desk about the buildout, according to the New York Times.
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