Disney Closes Upfront Ad Business, Up 5% in Volume

Walt Disney closed its upfront advertising for all its TV and digital advertising brands -- ABC, Disney Channels Worldwide, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic Networks -- with a 5% gain in dollar volume, according to executives.

Disney closed its deal to buy half of 21st Century Fox Corp.’s TV-movie assets in March of this year -- which included FX Networks, National Geographic Networks, and other properties.

For the year ended September 2018, Disney’s total advertising revenue for its media networks was $7.76 billion. It was $8.13 billion in the previous year.

Typically, around 60% to 70% of a traditional TV broadcast and cable network’s inventory is sold in the upfront sales period that occurs before the new TV season, beginning in September.



Disney advertising sales completed upfront deals across all linear broadcast and cable networks with the cost per thousand viewer (CPMs) prices growing, on average, by 12% to 15% across all dayparts, according to media executives.

Year-ago upfront estimates for ABC broadcast prime-time programming were between $1.90 billion and $2.25 billion.

ABC’s “The Oscars” inked more than 50% of its inventory to marketers as part of their upfront deals. 

Disney cable networks -- ESPN and Freeform -- took in low double-digit percentage hikes in CPMs. Bigger dollar volume gains were seen at ESPN for its “Monday Night Football” series, up 20% versus the upfront a year ago. College football programming rose 7% in dollar volume.

For its NBA programming, ABC and ESPN witnessed 10% improvements in the cost per thousand viewers. ABC’s news programming posted high single-digit percentage upfront CPM gains versus a year ago.

Disney’s overall digital advertising upfront revenue posted 50% volume gains.

Another 50% improvement was witnessed for Disney’s addressable ad deals versus a year ago.

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