Broadcast Upfronts In An On-Demand Streaming World? Do The Math

Upfront presentations have always been about the new shows and scheduling -- providing nourishment for for media analysts to digest.

There was still plenty of show description -- as well as disclosing high-profile talent and showrunners -- for its new prime-time content for the 2022-2023 TV season.

Fox is adding three new dramas (“Monarch,” “Accused,'' and “Alert”), two new animated comedies (“Grimsburg” and “Krapopolis”), and one new unscripted series (“Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars”) to its lineup.

Other big broadcast networks stuck with the usual -- showing a schedule and saying where new shows would fit in.

We have a good idea why Fox took this bold and obvious step: In an on-demand streaming world, we can watch pretty much any scripted or non-scripted entertainment programming any time on our own schedule.

Sports and news content? Well, that is the other part of the story: Fox has put a lot emphasis into these areas since it sold half its programming/production assets to Walt Disney.



That said, there is still value in identifying which shows get the benefit of a strong "lead-in" from the likes of Fox's "The Masked Singer," for example, or NBC's "The Voice" and CBS' "NCIS."

The last big TV entertainment show to get launched after the Super Bowl was “The Equalizer” in 2021. It still produces a massive 9.5 million average viewers in Nielsen's L7 (live program-plus-seven days of time-shifted viewing) measure through May 1.

Scheduling increasingly has been a fuzzy thing anyway. Networks can regularly make changes on the fly -- even right after their upfront presentations. And mid-season changes and summer-season starts also contribute to this entropy.

Does any of this still matter to big media agencies and their major brand advertisers? Less so.

Sure, in the past they wanted to know about the timing of a big potential viewing season and/or series finales, or special episodes.

But with lots of TV and video disruption, media agencies and legacy TV networks are not just seeing the writing on the wall but the wall continuing to move.

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