Upfront TV Storm For Linear TV, Tailwinds For CTV - Protect What You Can

Is some hard rain coming on the upfront parade? Maybe just a drizzle.

Just last week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav pointed out at a media conference that the “advertising market” is facing a tough challenge with traditional national and local TV.

Specifically, he says “the pricing of the marketplace is imperfect.” This may partly be attributable, he says, to consumers seeking too many products.

He added: “We are all building on individual products -- all of that is inclement weather.” So is it time to hunker down? To board things up and make sure the generator is up to par?

On a somewhat hopeful note, Zaslav added: “Sequentially we're seeing some real improvement -- but it's not good."

Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales and partnerships of Disney Advertising, was more upbeat -- looking at the bright side with regard to premium SVOD platforms and their newly launched ad-supported tiers, at Disney+ for example.



“There's more demand than we've been able to take candidly. But we're seeing growth in that every single day... Supply is growing week over week.”

Yeah, but are we just robbing Peter to save Paul or maybe Paula to save Paulette? Insert your favorite idiom here.  

Now we don’t believe the nagging association that TV advertising marketers will abandon linear TV any time soon. Listening to key analysts it is still about finding ways to extend reach amid declining live, linear TV viewing.

But with regard to Zaslav's claim that pricing is “imperfect," he has alluded in the recent past to seemingly unfair price differences between national TV broadcast and cable networks -- long a major sticking point for  those big TV-network media companies that have both.

With softening in the U.S. ad economy -- even while there is growth with streaming and free-ad supported CTV platforms -- the net-net is that TV media companies are seeking to at least shoot for par in this upfront period. 

Did we almost forget to even mention high-profile measurement and currency issues? Or the writers' strike? Well, there you go.

Upfront forecast? Cloudy with a chance of high winds, and low expectations.

1 comment about "Upfront TV Storm For Linear TV, Tailwinds For CTV - Protect What You Can".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 30, 2023 at 10:07 a.m.

    With regard to the supposedly "unfair" pricing between cable and broadcast TV on a national basis---it's quite different locally----this goes way back to the very beginnings, around 1980. Traditionally buyers---with client agreement---- had penalized low rated broadcast TV sellers ---by paying them lower CPMs than high rated sellers. The reasoning was that the low rated sellers were not putting out content of the same quality as those with high ratings so they didn't deserve to get paid equally per viewer. Add to this the excessive use of reruns and the heavy ad clutter on low rated TV---all seemingly supporting the lower quality assessment and the practice of penalizing low rated sellers was locked into place when cable arrived on the media scene.So it continued-----to the point where even in cable there are well established CPM tiers---with the lowest rated channels earning CPMs at about half the rate of those at the top.

    Is this fair? Probably not. but in the buyers' defense, if they paid every seller purely by the "audience" attained, their clients' overall  TV CPMs would rise through the roof---or those of the broadcast sellers and top rated cable CPM tiers would need to decline significantly. And what about TV news or sports CPMs? Is it fair that they are much higher than those attained by reruns of "Gilligan's Island"? And why should primetime TV command double or  triple the CPM per woman "reached" than daytime TV? Is that fair?

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