Disney Upfront Completed, 'In Line' With Year-Ago Volume

On the eve of its latest quarter earnings release, Disney Advertising has closed its upfront advertising deal-making for the new TV season that starts next month at a revenue volume “in line with the prior year,” according to a company release.

A year ago, Walt Disney amassed $9 billion from upfront advertising revenue commitments for the 2022-2023 TV season, according to the company.

This year Disney did not comment on all its program pricing except to say there were “single digit [percentage] increases in sports volume and pricing,” but did say that womens’ sports programming witnessed high demand.

Since late fall 2022 and through the first half of 2023,  the TV ad marketplace has been weak in terms of scatter-market pricing, with deals made close to commercial airings -- flat or slightly down versus the upfront pricing set a year ago. 



Media agency buyers say the TV network group upfront deals for the upcoming season for non-sports entertainment programming witnessed rare pricing declines, roughly around 1% to 3%

Last year, Disney said it posted overall pricing gains -- the cost-per-thousand viewers (CPMs) -- at “double-digit” percentage for cost-per-thousand viewer (CPM) price increases, and” high single digit” gains for addressable TV deals. 

Disney said this upfront period saw strong interest in live events as well as addressable inventory deals across sports and entertainment -- the latter especially for Hulu and Disney+ advertising options.

More than 40% of Disney upfront advertising dollars went to Disney premium streaming and digital video services -- Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. Based on last year’s results this would have meant $3.6 billion in revenue for digital/streaming platforms.

In particular, it said there was sharply rising ad business for Disney+.  

Strong overall TV/streaming advertising categories this year included: automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services, media & entertainment, pharmaceutical, sports gaming and travel & leisure.

Overall, Disney said there were “substantial” commitments across financial services, pharmaceutical, retail, technology and telecommunications brands.

Disney upfront deal-making sales inventory went to networks/platforms including: ABC Television Network, Disney Channels, Disney+, ESPN and ESPN+, Freeform, FX, Hulu and National Geographic.

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