Upfront TV Data: Fuzzy Info Or Clearer Numbers To Come?

Strong, specific opinions about the upfront TV advertising market are always in abundance. But actual upfront advertising revenue? Tough to locate.

Efforts to seek more granular data about price increases -- the cost per thousand users -- and overall dollar volume are endlessly pursued.

Then add what is “committed” and what actually goes to “order” for upfront buys, as well as quarterly option cancellations. Potential scatter revenues, which represent 25% to 30% or more in total broadcast national TV dollars or around 40% to 50% for cable networks, are other factors.

Maybe those quarterly earnings report from media sales companies offer a better sense of what happened -- but only in broad overview terms.

Now we have a major new factor to consider, making these calculations a bit more complex: connected TV.

Like other analysts, Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for GroupM, believes there is a disconnect between connected TV when it comes to advertising revenue and the time consumers are likely to spend with the content. Ad-free platforms -- Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+ -- comprise a huge piece of the ad-free CTV world.



Wieser expects CTV to have a 10% global share of TV advertising this year, 14% in the U.S. Five years from now, expect it to be 18% and 26%, respectively. His forecast for overall national TV revenue is unchanged -- 9% growth this year and “stable” revenue next year.

Television News Daily has reported slight upfront volume gains in “commitment” for many networks so far, with CPMs roughly rising at an eye-popping 20% to 25%. All this due to the usual market forces in place -- less supply of rating points and the rising market demand.

TV networks want to help out, encouraging marketer’s to shift 20% or so of their budgets to network-owned new premium streaming CTV businesses.

But before you get excited again about CTV, there is this caveat from Wieser. “It remains unlikely that advertising will play as big a role within the streaming universe as it does in linear TV in most parts of the world.”

He adds: “That doesn’t rule out an opportunity for advertising and fully ad-supported services. ... Pluto and Tubi in the U.S. or Pluto, Rakuten, Samsung and others elsewhere.”

Going forward, for any new TV season, consider more upfront complex questions as new digital factors arise -- ad-related or not.

Next story loading loading..