The newest entrant to TV’s Upfront Week has little to do with traditional TV.
Just as companies like Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and Fox try to tempt Madison Avenue with previews of new programming in hopes of wooing billions in ad cash, so too will Netflix. The streaming giant plans to hold its own upfront presentation in New York’s Paris Theater — which it owns — on May 17. smack dab in the middle of a stretch of days during which TV’s biggest players make pitches of their own.
A Netflix spokeswoman confirmed a report about its upfront intentions in Adweek, but declined to offer granular details about the event. Netflix does so after launching an ad-supported tier last year, teaming up with Microsoft to help it in its cause, and enlisting former Snap executives Jeremi Gorman (above, pictured) and Peter Naylor to head up sales efforts. Media companies typically try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for their next programming cycle each year as part of the industry’s “upfront” market.
Finding time to hold a presentation can be difficult during a week crowded with events, but Netflix was provided with a noticeable opening by Paramount Global. The owner of CBS late last year said it would abandon a long-held tradition of pitching advertisers from New York’s Carnegie Hall, choosing instead direct one-on-one meetings with various clients and media agencies.
Netflix isn’t the first digital competitor to try and make inroads during the event. Hulu made an attempt when it launched last decade. And Google’s YouTube last year held an event early in the week. For years, digital publishers have typically chosen to hold forth during a series of “NewFronts.” organized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
And yet, lines are starting to blur. All the mainstream TV companies also are trying to sell digital inventory available on ad-supported or subscription-based streaming hubs.
Netflix will vie with companies that have far more experience in haggling with advertisers and who have a greater amount of programming hours that are consumed live by bigger simultaneous audiences. Even so, with linear audiences in ongoing decline, advertisers are eager to get their messages in front of consumers, particularly those who have migrated to popular streaming vehicles.