Disney's Staggs: No Worries About TV Scatter Market

Walt Disney’s ABC and ESPN outperformed in the upfront advertising market that finished this summer -- the later gaining in both pricing and volume.

Speaking at a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media Conference, Tom Staggs, chief operating officer of Walt Disney Co, said it “was an even more robust upfront market” for ESPN versus that of other networks.

ABC also had a strong upfront process, with higher CPMs but lower upfront revenue. But price increases there were the highest compared to other networks, Staggs added, saying “we are the only [major broadcast] network that had ratings increases for the year.”

Media buyers say CPM price increases at ABC were in the 6% range, with ABC’s upfront revenue volume falling 8% to $1.9 billion.

In keeping with what other executives have noted about generally lower upfront TV volumes overall, he said advertisers continued looking for “flexibility” -- buying in the quarter-by-quarter scatter markets, closer to airtime.



Staggs believe marketers are looking for more “multiplatform” marketing deals. And in that regard, it, “increases the import to a certain extent [for] the scatter market.” He added: “We are little bit in scatter market right now; it’s actually very helpful and broad-based.”

With the new “Star Wars” movie scheduled for the holidays, Disney expects big box-office dollars to continue this year. So far, Disney pulled in $1.4 billion in U.S. domestic revenue, compared to $1.2 billion of a year before.

Disney already had seen major results this year from Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” a continuing franchise -- as well  Pixar’s “Inside Out.” Disney’s Marvel division has much more room to grow. “With 8,000 characters in the Marvel Universe, there is a whole lot of room for us to build,” says Staggs.

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