Upfront TV Pitches With An Ad Slant: Amping Up Programming, Multiple Currencies... And Trust?

Ad-supported TV has always been a thing. Now the messaging is looking to grow.

This was amplified by Comcast NBCUniversal and Fox Corp. on day one of the TV upfront advertising presentations.

Still, there are some wrinkles in these proclamations.

“The rest of the industry will spend the next decade trying to become Comcast NBCUniversal because we know the future is ad-supported and our entire company is already built, top to bottom, to support you, our advertisers,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, during NBCU’s upfront presentation on Monday.

Well, not entirely. Not even for Peacock, NBCU’s growing premium streaming service, which does, in fact, have an “ad-free” subscription: Peacock Premium+ for $9.99 a month.

And yet the small print, on PeacockTV's website, also says: “Due to streaming rights, a small amount of programming will still contain ads -- Peacock channels, events and a few shows and movies."



So there is advertising on an ad-free service! (Take note, Netflix!)

NBCUniversal says all its Peacock streaming options are key to its growth, now with 13 million paid TV subscribers and 28 million monthly active users -- and $12 million going to NBCUniversal affiliates over a recent period.

But, of course, it isn't just NBC. Later that day we got an earful from Fox Corp. on how big Tubi has become -- some 40,000 titles, which it claims to be “the largest in free ad-supported streaming. Fox has said Tubi will grow into a $1 billion advertising business by next year.

Fox also said Tubi will have 100 titles that will be new and original to the service. You know, to keep things fresh.

NBCU's Yaccarino said: “While the rest of the industry plays catch up or tries to force-feed your ads to consumers who never asked for them in the first place, we’re the only place that consumers can actually completely trust.”

Well, perhaps not the only one. Walt Disney might use the word trust, and Roku, discovery+, AMC+, and scores of others. And, yes -- possibly even Netflix at the end of the year.

One more, from Yaccarino, who talks about “a future where first-party data is no longer the exclusive domain of the digital platforms -- a future where self-serve doesn't have to mean second-class inventory. A future where multiple currencies deliver you massive results.”

Yes, for sure. There is plenty of first-party data everywhere -- and apparently multiple currencies coming.

But this year? No way -- maybe not even next year. The future indeed.

Still, all that data needs to be matched, synthesized, analyzed and adjusted.

So get to work if you want those massive results.

Big premium streaming platforms might advertise that point to you soon.

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