Upfront TV ad spending is trending downward

US upfront TV ad spending will fall by 3.6% to $18.64 billion for the 2023–2024 TV season, a downward revision of 5.0% from our previous forecast. It will rise slightly for the 2024–2025 season but remain nearly flat with the 2016–2017 figure of $18.46 billion, indicating a market that has stopped growing on the linear side as dollars shift to digital video.

  • The same forces inhibiting topline TV ad spending are acting on the upfronts. These include economic uncertainty, falling ratings, cord-cutting, downward pricing pressures, shifts in viewership from TV to CTV, and migration of ad dollars from traditional to digital media.
  • Despite the drop, the upfronts make up a growing portion of the TV ad market. Roughly 30% of total TV ad spending will happen during the upfronts, a portion that has inched up over the past five years. For all the TV advertising struggles, buyers still value the price advantages of the upfronts, and sellers value forecastable revenues. This is especially true in consumer packaged goods (CPG), insurance, and automotive industries, where TV continues to offer unparalleled efficiency and quality.


A note on our upfront TV ad spending forecast: Estimating upfront spending as a function of total TV spending is an inexact science, since our upfront forecast is based on the seasonal year for TV programming—which starts in the fall—and our TV forecast is based on calendar years. Also, the upfront forecast is limited to national spending, while our TV forecast also encompasses local ads.

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast