Upfront TV and Digital Video 2021

Advertiser Commitments Resurge

Executive Summary

After a turbulent 2020, TV networks are hoping for a return to normalcy and to lock in more advertising commitments during this year’s annual upfront negotiations.

How much money will be spent on linear TV advertising during the upfronts?

Advertisers will spend $19.90 billion upfront in the 2021-2022 TV season, an increase of 7.6% over the previous cycle.

Are advertisers spending more upfront dollars on streaming services?

Upfront spending on digital video ads continued to grow at double-digit rates even during 2020 and will accelerate this year. Upfront video ad spending on connected TV in particular will increase by almost 50% this year.

Do advertisers expect upfront transactions to become more flexible?

Nearly two-thirds of advertisers surveyed by iSpot.TV said their upfront commitments would be more flexible this year.

What do advertisers look for in upfront presentations?

Three-fourths of marketers expected upfront presenters to share meaningful research, according to Advertiser Perceptions.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our latest forecasts for upfront TV and upfront digital video ad spending.

KEY STAT: After two years of pandemic-related decreases in upfront TV ad spending, US advertisers will increase outlays by 7.6% this year to almost $20 billion.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Upfront Ad Spending
    3. The Cross-Channel Upfronts
    4. The Upfronts and the Next Normal
    1. Key Takeaways
    2. Glossary
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    4. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    Vicky Chang
    Director, Media Buying and Planning
    Interviewed April 23, 2021
    Stacy Daft
    General Manager, Enterprise Commercial Business Development
    Interviewed April 22, 2021
    Wil Danielson
    Senior Vice President, Sales
    Interviewed April 27, 2021
    Raghu Kodige
    LG Ads
    Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer
    Interviewed April 7, 2021
    Yan Liu
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed March 30, 2021
    Adam Lowy
    Head of Sales and Strategy
    Interviewed April 1, 2021
    Mark Marshall
    President, Advertising and Client Partnerships
    Interviewed April 1, 2021
    Julian Mintz
    National Brand Sales Lead
    Interviewed April 21, 2021
    Dave Morgan
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed March 26, 2021
    Sean Mueller
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 22, 2021
    Darren Olive
    Crackle Plus
    Executive Vice President, National Advertising Sales and Strategy
    Interviewed March 31, 2021
    Jes Santoro
    Senior Vice President, Advanced TV and Video
    Interviewed April 21, 2021
    Tim Sims
    The Trade Desk
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Interviewed April 28, 2021
    Andre Swanston
    Tru Optik
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed April 27, 2021

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    Ross Benes


    Eric Haggstrom
    Senior Forecasting Analyst
    Nicole Perrin
    Principal Analyst
    Chuck Rawlings
    Senior Researcher
    Audrey Schomer
    Senior Analyst

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