Disney Sees Ad Dollars Go To Sports, Digital in Weak TV Upfront – Variety


A tough advertising market sent dollars toward Disney’s sports and streaming properties, the company said Tuesday, but not flocking at the same rate to its traditional TV networks.

“Overall revenue and volume commitments made in the Upfront are in line with the prior year,” the company said in a statement.

Disney secured $9 billion in ad commitments in last year’s market, when U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory ahead of their next cycle of programming.

Disney said it notched “single digit increases in sports volume and pricing,” while noting that “more than 40% of the total Upfront dollars committed this year are streaming and digital, led by Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.”

The company offered no comment about results for its ABC broadcast network, or it’s Freeform or FX cable outlets.

The results spotlight Madison Avenue’s increasing disenchantment with traditional primetime TV as a vehicle for reaching the millions of consumers whose dollars they crave.

This year’s market has been a landmark, with the networks conceding to significant “rollbacks” or reductions in key rates, measures known as CPMs that represent the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers, in order to drive deals.

The networks and the digital-video companies have been in discussions that called for CPM increases of around 5% for the strongest TV properties, like sports, and for rollbacks going as deep as -5% for weaker linear inventory and even for digital, according to executives. According to buying executives, rollbacks were even discussed for primetime TV, once the medium’s strongest asset. In a sign of how much weaker the market for TV advertising has become, TV networks in 2022 struck deals that called for CPM increases ranging from 8% to 12%.

NBCUniversal said in July that it had been able to secure a level of commitments that was flat with 2022 results, even though it saw robust response to its upcoming Paris Olympics. Meanwhile, TelevisaUnivsion indicated it was able to notch increases in ad commitments by taking some share of dollars away from its English-speaking rivals. Fox, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery have claimed volume gains, but have not broken out specific figures around individual outlets.

More to come….

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