Event Presence

Tinuiti's Insights from Upfronts and NewFronts 2024

By Tara Johnson

This spring, Tinuiti participated in two major industry events: the Upfronts and NewFronts. Here’s a look at the valuable insights we gathered and how we intend to apply these learnings to benefit our own clients.

Understanding Upfronts

Upfronts focus on traditional television programming and advertising. The 2024 Upfronts, held from May 13-16, saw participation from industry giants such as NBCUniversal, Fox, Amazon, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix, and YouTube. This year’s event prompted brands and agencies to rethink their media buying strategies, pushing for more flexibility and outcome-based solutions.

Understanding NewFronts

NewFronts center on digital media and online content, providing a platform for emerging companies and innovations to capture market attention. The 2024 IAB NewFronts took place from April 29 to May 2 and were exclusive to qualified brand marketers and agency professionals. Key themes included connecting customer experiences across platforms, enhancing engagement, and promoting awareness of AI governance and standards.

3 Key Takeaways

Our experts identified three key themes that emerged from the events:

  1. Audience Convergence: Viewers seamlessly navigate between linear and streaming TV, and presenters have embraced this cross-screen media landscape. Companies are investing in methods to achieve total audience reach within their ecosystems, representing a strategic shift in media planning, exchange, activation, and measurement.
  2. Rights Deals Become Table Stakes: Live sports dominate TV consumption, making the competition for rights to various leagues and games fiercer, with major streaming players joining the fray. This year highlighted new NFL broadcasters, crucial negotiations for the NBA’s future, and a significant rise in women’s sports. Securing sports rights is now essential for media companies to attract and retain viewers.
  3. The Great Rebundling: Bundling among publishers is accelerating, although this trend was not heavily featured in Upfront presentations. However, new cross-publisher bundles were announced between Peacock, Netflix, and Apple TV+, and separately, Disney+, Hulu, and MAX. This trend is expected to continue as streamers aim to reduce subscriber churn by offering more economical and convenient access to diverse content.

Tinuiti Shares Expert Advice on Investment Implications

Let’s take a closer look at how Tinuiti will implement these findings with our own clients.

Cross-Channel Focus Offers More Fluidity

Traditional linear players like NBCU, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, and Disney are now deep into the streaming space, influencing media sales. This shift allows us to strategize our buys across a cohesive TV experience, enhancing campaign strategy, audience delivery, and outcome measurement.

Demand for Tentpoles Continues to Increase

The 2023-2024 season saw record-breaking viewership across NFL, college football, March Madness, WNBA, and a resurgence in major award shows. These point-in-time opportunities are highly attractive to Upfront advertisers, emphasizing the importance of advanced planning to maximize negotiating power.

Timing of Sports Factors May Draw Out Deal Making

The schedule and broadcast rights of major sports leagues are dictating the pace of Upfront deal closures. Networks like NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, Amazon, and Netflix revealed their NFL lineups shortly after the presentations. The future of other major deals, such as Warner Bros. Discovery’s contract with the NBA post-2025, remains uncertain. With such a focus on sports programming, deal-making is expected to extend into June and beyond.

Tech Announcements Expand Buying Options

Netflix announced plans to extend its buying capabilities beyond Microsoft and launch an in-house ad tech platform. They join Disney, NBCU, and others in making significant strides in the programmatic space. These advancements provide more options for hands-on campaign management across media buys.

Applying Insights to Client Strategies

Tinuiti plans to integrate these insights into our client strategies by leveraging the shift towards a cross-channel focus, taking advantage of the increasing demand for tentpole events, navigating the complexities of sports-related deal timing, and utilizing new technological advancements in ad buying. By doing so, we aim to optimize our media buying strategies, deliver more effective campaigns, and achieve better outcomes for our clients. To learn more, check out our TV and Audio Services.

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