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What You Need to Know About the Upfronts and CTV

By Matt Frattaroli on June 8, 2022

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Matt Frattaroli

VP, Digital Platform and Agency Partnerships

TV’s annual Upfront presentations are now over, and after seeing glittery previews of all of the programming to come later this year, advertisers are locking in their annual TV buys. As modern marketers know, the world of TV is changing very quickly, and this year's Upfronts were a sign of the ongoing evolution.

 

Here’s a look at the headlines coming out of this year's event and some insight into how they’ll impact linear, addressable, and connected TV.

Tech and CTV were the big stars

While the Upfronts have long been about the content across broadcast and cable, this year felt like a sea change. Streaming and technology were front and center, to the point where MediaVillage likened the events to the IAB Newfronts, which are more of a showcase for emerging technology and online video players.

 

Not all of the streaming and tech talk came from newer players, either. YouTube made its first ever Upfront appearance, but the major programmers, such NBCUniversal, Disney and Paramount, made streaming “a central theme of their upfronts pitch.”

 

What is obvious is that the nature of “TV” is changing. As Samsung reports, 78% of U.S. HHs mostly stream while only 22% mostly watch linear. That doesn’t negate the advertising power of traditional TV − but advertisers need to be aware of the reach potential and how it can impact their plans. With the right audience strategy in place, the channels be used in tandem to drive incrementality and efficiencies, ensuring they are engaging as many of their prospective customers as possible.

CTV spending will top $6 billion

As advertisers lock in their buys, it’s clear that CTV is a high priority. Upfront CTV ad spending will grow by 34.6% to $6.41 billion this year, according to eMarketer. This is noteworthy, because it’s more in upfront spend than what was spent on all of CTV just three years ago.

 

This kind of advanced investment shows just how serious advertisers feel about CTV and portends a competitive market to come. While there will still be CTV inventory available on a programmatic basis, advertisers need to be aware that they’ll face increased competition for this inventory.

Look for diversity and transparency

Following the upfronts, networks and the media buying agencies have clearly set priorities for how they want to move ahead in this new paradigm. The emphasis on streaming shows that networks are going to push cross-platform packages that give brands access to all kinds of programming on both the traditional TV channels and newer streaming platforms.

 

This is certainly exciting for brands looking to reach their audiences, but brands and their agencies will need to prioritize both flexibility and transparency. This particularly applies to CTV, where advertisers need “clarity around how, where, and to whom their ads are being served,” according to NextTV.

 

Are you planning to expand your Advanced TV investments for ‘22-’23? We can help! Reach out to learn more about Alliant’s 2,000+ audiences, readily available for data-driven TV advertising campaigns.

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