Upfront TV and Digital Video Forecasts and Trends 2023

The End of the ‘Mad Men’ Era Gives Way to CTV

Report Snapshot

The first TV upfronts debuted in 1962 against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis, the UK release of “Love Me Do,” and the opening season of the awful-yet-lovable New York Mets. Ad space was sold via paper and handshakes, and a single currency measured all. Now, the upfronts are shedding their “Mad Men” roots and morphing into something different—more digital, more fragmented, less predictable, and no longer transacted or measured against a single currency. And, in a reminder of how the pandemic upended the upfronts in 2020, this year’s event has been rocked by a writers strike, the cancellation of at least one major event, and high-level executive shake-ups. Ahead, we look at the state of play at the 2023 upfronts, including our latest forecast for US upfront ad spending and how a shift toward digital video, especially connected TV (CTV), is transforming this time-honored tradition.


  1. How much will be spent on TV, digital video, and CTV at this year’s and next year’s upfronts and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Digital Content NewFronts?
  2. What do upfront ad spending trends say about the TV ad industry?
  3. How will alternative currencies play out in the 2023 upfronts?
  4. How will ad pricing, volume, and contract flexibility factor into upfront negotiations?

KEY STAT: US upfront TV ad spending will fall during the 2023–2024 season on a YoY basis and relative to our previous forecast, as the industry continues to veer toward digital programming.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Report Snapshot
    2. Upfront TV ad spending is trending downward.
    3. Digital video is making up for losses in the TV upfront market.
    4. More CTV dollars are going to the upfronts.
    1. Nielsen is still the leading currency for this year’s upfronts.
    2. A buyer’s market will lower prices and increase contract flexibility.
    3. What’s the vibe of the 2023 upfronts?
    4. What will change starting with the 2024 upfronts?
    1. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    2. Sources
    3. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    Vicky Chang
    Vice President, Media and Ops
    Interviewed April 17, 2023
    Sean Cunningham
    President and CEO
    Interviewed April 28, 2023
    Erin Firneno
    Advertiser Perceptions
    Vice President, Business Intelligence
    Interviewed April 11, 2023
    Kevin McGurn
    President, Sales and Distribution
    Interviewed April 11, 2023
    Catherine Walstad
    Marketing Architects
    Vice President, MA Media
    Interviewed April 21, 2023
    Andrew Ward
    Interviewed April 17, 2023

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    Paul Verna


    Whitney Birdsall
    Senior Forecasting Analyst
    Evelyn Mitchell
    Senior Analyst, Digital Advertising & Media
    Max Willens
    Senior Analyst

    "Behind the Numbers" Podcast