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TV networks report surge in streaming for Upfront ad commitments

Jul 19, 2022
Illustration of a television test pattern made of hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The results of the Upfronts have been strong for media giants and supported by a surge in ad dollars directed to streaming platforms.

Why it matters: As TV programming and ad buying practices have changed, the existence of the Upfronts has been challenged. But the results prove that the traditional model still works.

Driving the news: Disney said Monday it secured a record $9 billion in advertising commitments, and 40% of that went to streaming and digital.

  • As Axios' Sara Fischer wrote, "Disney said it saw double-digit increases in sports volume and pricing for the second year in a row. Broadly speaking, rate increases helped Disney attract more dollars this year."

State of play: NBCUniversal also touted a record Upfront, bringing in around $7 billion, with $1 billion directed to its streaming service, Peacock.

  • Paramount hasn't released official results yet, but Variety reported last month that its ad commitments are expected to rise by at least 10% and grow for its streaming services, Pluto and Paramount Plus.
  • The CW is estimated to have stayed flat for ad commitments to primetime broadcasts but had growth for digital, per Variety.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly taking longer to close its negotiations. WBD's Jon Steinlauf said last month the company was "being patient," but fodder from media buyers suggests they've been charging higher rates than other networks.

What's next: If Netflix's ad-supported version launches later this year, the streaming service could impact the success of the TV networks' Upfront commitments in 2023.

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