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.
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.
Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.
Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.
Insights from industry and company leaders.