×

Disney Sees Volume Gains for TV Upfront at ABC, Kids’ Networks

Late-night’s Jimmy Kimmel and a slew of new kids’ offerings drew advertisers to Walt Disney’s Disney/ABC TV, which notched gains in the volume of advance advertising commitments it sold in TV’s annual upfront. The results – announced publicly by the company – offer another signal that the market for TV advertising has been healthier than expected.

The company said volume was up between 3% and 5% at broadcast, but up in a high-single digit percentage range across all its, broadcast,cable and kids-TV holdings.  The company’s Disney/ABC TV operations include the ABC broadcast network. the Freeform cable network and the company’s suite of kids outlets: Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. ABC secured between $1.7 billion and $1.96 billion in ad commitments allocated to primetime in 2016, according to Variety estimates. If the network were able to grow volume by 3% to 5%, then it could have secured between $1.75 billion and $2.06 billion for its primetime schedule.

The Disney results – which do not include sports-cable division ESPN – suggest advertisers are looking for favorably on TV at a time when they have expressed frustration with digital media. In recent months, measurement of video views at Facebook has come under scrutiny and some marketers have expressed concerns about the type of content their ads accompany on Google’s YouTube. Meanwhile, executives familiar with these annual talks between U.S. TV networks and Madison Avenue over prices for the bulk of TV ad inventory that accompanies the next season’s programming suggest a few categories have boosted the money they intend to spend on TV.

The company saw increased spending by consumer packaged goods companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, said Rita Ferro, president of ad sales for Disney/ABC TV, in an interview. “They spend broadly across all the dayparts,” she said. Ferro was elevated to her role earlier this year, and said the company worked to sell broader packages to advertisers across a portfolio of networks, rather than having each one negotiate separately.

ABC pressed for rate increases. another sign of a robust market ABC sought high-single-digit percentage increases in the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers – a measure known as a CPM that is integral to these discussions – on broadcast and cable. In 2016, ABC pressed for CPM hikes of between 8.5% and 10% for broadcast primetime. The company said CPM increases came to as much as “low double digit” percentages for late-night and kids’ TV.

CBS has also seen advertisers place increased emphasis on dayparts other than primetime. CBS expects the volume of ad commitments it gets for its primetime offerings to be flat, according to people familiar with the matter, but projected volume increases for late-night and morning programs.

ABC said advertisers showed interest in its coming revival of “American Idol,” and new ABC programs like “The Good Doctor,” “The Mayor” and “The Gospel of Kevin.” Freeform’s “”Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” and Disney XD’s “Duck Tales” also proved of interest, the company said.

Disney took the rare step of disclosing its upfront results in an open statement – a rarity for the industry. Most of the information about TV’s advance advertising market leaks out through conversations with executives on both sides of the negotiations. Because the discussions are for ad commitments, however, not hard cash, the networks are loath to offer hard figures. Advertisers can decide later on to take back some portion of their commitment if they choose, and as a result, it’s hard to draw a straight line from upfront ad hauls to bottom-line results. Disney’s release did not offer information on actual volume of commitments sold. The only time a network has done that in the recent past came in 2005, when ABC disclosed it had secured around $2.7 billion for primetime commercial inventory.

Correction: ABC’s volume of advance ad commitments for primetime rose 3% to 5%, meaning the network could have secured between $1.75 billion and $2.06 billion. A person familiar with the network’s negotiations initially indicated primetime volume had risen 8% to 9%, resulting in what could have been volume of $1.84 billion to $2.13 billion. ABC later revised its estimates publicly.

More TV

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content