Writers' Strike Coming Amidst Uncertain Upfront Market

Forget about possible new currencies, measurement and shiny new ways to get audience-targeted data for the upfront ad-sales period. 

How about just focusing on plain-jane TV shows and content? 

If TV writers effectively strike starting Tuesday at midnight -- with the walkout lasting for any significant length of time into the new TV season, as it did 16 years ago -- we could have a more dramatic, different kind of business story to be written. 

And it would not be one that networks and streamers, or marketers, would want to tell. 

Perhaps a “Prices Slashed. Everything Must Go” sign will appear on the doors of TV networks, and streaming platforms -- looking to sell everything they have. 

And there is more. A possible recession could hit in the fourth quarter of 2023. Many analysts are assured that this is likely to happen.



As some rules of the road now stand, the scatter TV marketplace since the Q4 2022 has been weak -- and at best flat -- in terms of pricing versus upfront deals made last summer.

Pricing is still flat now. The second-quarter scatter market has been a good predictor of how the upfront ad market will fare.

That means dents in the armor of legacy TV networks (and their associated streaming platforms), as well as possible digital-first big-time streamers -- newer streaming platforms (such as Roku) as well as those just getting started with ad-supported programming (Netflix).

Contrarians and those who profess that there is a ton of good-quality, original TV content on linear TV and streaming services may say, hold on -- there is tons of fresh content that many modern TV consumers have looked at. 

They might point to premium streaming platforms -- especially those spending as much $17 billion a year on new TV shows and movies (Netflix) and those that are spending $6 billion to $7 billion (Hulu and Apple TV+).

All that makes sense in a perfect supply-and-demand world. But it depends how all this goes down with consumers and their perceptions of  the current TV and streaming landscape -- especially when it comes to what would be a lack of on-air linear TV network (broadcast and cable) show promos, as well as less premium streaming marketing.

TV marketers buying into what would be an unusual upcoming fall season will have their work cut out for them looking to find the right media plans that may force more out of-the-box thinking.

Think of this as an unscripted TV cooking show full of mystery -- and ingredients that are not always compatible, or favorable.

1 comment about "Writers' Strike Coming Amidst Uncertain Upfront Market".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, May 1, 2023 at 8:55 p.m.

    I believe there will be a writer's strike and the TV season will be delayed until Oct then start in late Sep in my opinion. Reality TV, some from overseas and from Canada, streaming as well like the COVID year.

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