June 1, 2020

Upfront and the Pandemic?

This year is very different and could trigger a change in longer term behavior.

Historically May through August is spent discussing the new fall line ups, what will be the water cooler shows going into 2021, what is the long-term solution to ever increasing media inflation and falling ratings and most importantly who was funniest Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert? The normal investment associated with this discussion results in $20 billion being laid down with the big networks.

This year is very different and could trigger a change in longer term behavior. Clients are navigating a ratings decline of 15% in quarter 1 year on year, the prospect of limited live sport for the coming months, pressure on budgets and all slated new programming on hold until production opens up. Add to this changing viewer patterns with the continued growth of non advertising platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix many believe this could leave a $7 billion hole for the networks and agencies.

Our clients are looking to us for the best strategic way to protect their short and long term interests and help devise new potential partners for growth aligned with their brands.


Chris Rayner was formerly global client leader for Publicis Groupe.