TV Bigs Getting Out Front Of Upfronts With Early Announcements

Upfront Week announcements are already coming fast and furious from the big TV companies that simply cannot wait to reveal their outsized presentation plans.

For the record, as of this date -- Thursday, Feb. 15 -- it is 12 weeks and four days until the start of Upfront Week on Monday, May 13.

And yet, the first one of these announcements to appear in the TV Blog’s bloated inbox was from Warner Bros. Discovery on January 18.

WBD announced it will stage its presentation on Wednesday, May 15, at 10 a.m. Eastern at the 5,600-seat Theater at Madison Square Garden. 

It wouldn’t be pre-Upfront season without hyperbole as the biggies position their spring Upfront sales efforts.



“Warner Bros. Discovery has the strongest portfolio of networks, platforms, and brands in the business, delivering unparalleled scale and reach. Our groundbreaking technology provides standout, industry-leading opportunities to connect our clients with the tens of millions of valuable viewers who watch, stream and engage with our content daily,” said Jon Steinlauf, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Chief U.S. advertising sales Officer, in a prepared statement.

“At this year’s Upfront presentation, we are incredibly excited to showcase our innovative advanced advertising solutions, as well as the Max streaming portfolio, which places brands alongside our award-winning series, films, live sports and breaking news.”   

A press release from NBCUniversal came on Jan. 31. It announced plans for NBCU’s Upfront to take place on Monday, May 13, at the company’s traditional venue, Radio City Music Hall. 

NBCU-owned Telemundo will have a separate event that evening at the venue known as The Shed at Hudson Yards, the announcement said.

“NBCUniversal has always put our advertising partners at the center of everything we do,” said Mark Marshall, Chairman, NBCUniversal global advertising & partnerships, in a prepared statement. 

“As consumers’ viewing habits continue to shift, the opportunity to connect with audiences across platforms is more valuable than ever,” he said.

A new wrinkle in Upfront World this year: Multi-day “Upfront Experiences.” Netflix is having one, and so is Hallmark Media, although they differ in various ways.

Netflix’s two-day event starts Wednesday, May 15, at the venue known as Pier59. It is being billed as a more or less normal Upfront experience in which Netflix will ballyhoo upcoming content.

But wait, there’s more. The next day, Netflix will set its sights on mesmerizing media buyers with an immersive “Netflix Experience.”

According to a MediaPost story, this Netflix Experience will include “immersing” buyers in some sort of “Stranger Things” room where they will somehow find themselves “upside-down” (or some such) in order to perform “Squid Game” challenges.

In the show “Squid Game,” the challenges are fatal ones. What’s the pitch this year? Sign on the dotted line, or else!?

Hallmark’s press release out yesterday (Feb. 14) also used the word “immersive” in describing an Upfront experience spread over nine days -- April 2-11.

“Hallmark Media will engage its advertising partners with a new series of curated immersive events designed to mirror the enchanting and heartwarming content Hallmark Media is renowned for,” said the press release.

“The Hallmark Media Upfront Experiences will take place April 2nd-April 11th at locations throughout the New York City area, featuring premiere immersive activities that include a private tour and cocktail party at one of NY’s most iconic venues, hosting and entertaining classes, a memorable dinner at a Michelin-rated restaurant, and more,” it said.

“As part of these experiences, we look forward to sharing the new tools and initiatives Hallmark Media has to offer that will empower brands to authentically connect with our expanding viewership,” said Ed Georger, executive vice president, ad sales & digital media, in a prepared statement.

Please count me in, Hallmark, especially if you can save me a seat at that Michelin-rated restaurant because no one knows food better than a tire company.

Earlier this week came an Upfront announcement from Fox (home of the award-winning Homer Simpson, above photo), which returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday, May 13.

“At Fox, our unrivaled, world-class content connects with communities nationwide like no other,” said Jeff Collins, President of Advertising Sales, Marketing and Brand Partnerships, in a prepared statement.

“We are excited to return to Upfront week, the culmination of months of bespoke client engagements focused on developing custom solutions for our valued partners across our industry-leading content, data and technology,” he said.

Now that the announcements are coming out, it is time for everyone to mark their calendars. And for the TV Blog, the battle to get invited begins.

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