Upfront: Prime-Time Forecast To Decline More Than 3%, 28% Gain For CTV

Upfront TV prime-time advertising spending will sink 3.6% to $18.64 billion -- the first time the market will decline since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the upfront market in the summer of 2020, according to Insider Intelligence/eMarketer estimates.

This will come due to  “shrinking ad budgets and an abundance of options [that will] spark a buyer’s market,” according to the report. “This decline is being driven by economic instability, declining viewership ratings, the trend of cord-cutting, price-reduction pressures, a shift in audience from traditional TV to CTV, and a transition from conventional to digital media.”

Traditional upfront TV advertising deal-making is where advertisers agree to buy inventory on TV networks for an entire TV season before the season starts in the fall -- usually amounting to 60% to 70% of TV networks' inventory. A full TV season runs from late September through August of the following year.



Following the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the summer's upfront market witnessed a 6.6% decline to $17.91 billion for the 2020-2021 TV season. 

The report expects the upfront to recover somewhat next year for the 2024-2025 TV season, inching up 0.8% to $18.79 billion.

These results include TV ad spending per broadcast year for broadcast and cable TV networks as well a national syndication -- driven by TV network prime-time upfront presentations that occurred last month. 

But it says when adding NewFront-related deal-making -- from connected TV business -- there will continue to be sharp gains, up 29% to $8.66 billion in 2023 (and 36% next year to $11.75 billion) from upfront TV and NewFront advertisers' committed spending in advance. 

Looking at the broader overall digital video segment -- where CTV has a 70% share -- it is projected to see a 28% hike to $12.49 billion in digital video ad spending committed in advance for a particular calendar year.

Last year -- for the 2022-2023 TV season -- Media Dynamics says there was a 5.8% gain in revenue to $20.1 billion in upfront prime-time ad spending.

Insider Intelligence/eMarketer estimated there was a 1.5% improvement for that season to $19.33 billion. 

1 comment about "Upfront: Prime-Time Forecast To Decline More Than 3%, 28% Gain For CTV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 16, 2023 at 1:06 p.m.

     We need to remember that "it's all TV" and prime time buys on linear TV networks are just a part of the total "upfront". If we count streaming time buys as well as those made on nationally syndicated TV shows and unwired networks and include all dayparts and the major sports sponsorships, something like $40-45 billion dollars is spent in what might be termed "upfront" purchases----while a relatively small amount is left for "scatter" or "opportunistic" investments. In this context, advertisers are  steadily  increasing their total spending in national TV---except the still large linear component is under increasing pressure to hold CPM pricing in check--or, in some cases, to charge a bit less than before.

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