Lower TV Upfront Deals In 2021, CTV And Cord-Cutting On Rise

Nearly 60% of TV advertisers are making less traditional TV upfront commitments for 2021, according to new research from The Trade Desk -- with connected TV (CTV) ad buying and cord-cutting gains contributing to that change.

The Trade Desk research came from surveys from Advertiser Perceptions (of advertising executives) and YouGov (of consumers).

Marketing executives now say CTV represents 18% of their advertising spend. The Trade Desk, the big independent demand-side platform for marketers, says its soaring CTV growth is a major piece of its overall ad revenue gains in recent periods.

Media Dynamics has estimated traditional TV upfront revenue to be down 15% to $18.6 billion for the 2020-2021 TV season -- largely due to COVID-19 pandemic-related issues and timing.

The Trade Desk expects a 27% rise in cord-cutting for 2021, which would nearly double the 15% of legacy pay TV subscribers who reported cutting the cord in 2020.



Although many analysts and researchers say live sports programming is keeping subscribers wedded to traditional pay TV platforms -- cable, satellite and telco -- the survey says only 30% of U.S. consumers “cite live sports as a reason for maintaining a cable TV subscription.” This is down from a 60% level nine months before.

Now, almost 39% of sports viewers are watching live sports content from connected TV (CTV) ad-supported streaming and social media platforms.

Advertiser Perceptions’ online survey of 150 TV advertising planning and buying executives, with an annual TV ad budget of more than $5 million, was produced on November 18-30, 2020.

A YouGov online survey was conducted on December 4-8, 2020 among 2,105 U.S. adults -- with data weighted and representative of all U.S. adults age 18 years and older.

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