Brian Steinberg-Senior show sports pandemic Warner Bros Brian Steinberg-Senior

Streaming Ads Poised to Shatter Routines at TV’s Upfront

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Brian Steinberg Senior TV EditorThe industry hasn’t gathered for in-person TV upfront presentations since 2019, and so much has changed — including the ways that Madison Avenue heavyweights are spending their money.Billions of dollars are at stake during the upfront sales process, a period when big marketers such as Apple, McDonald’s and Procter & Gamble reserve TV spots in hopes of locking down lower prices.

And this year’s scramble for ad dollars is likely to be more intense, complex and confusing than anything in recent memory — even the 2007 session when networks changed how they measured audiences who were using DVRs.

Madison Avenue’s attention is pivoting to ad-supported streaming, thanks in part to new commercial-supported tiers of HBO Max; the expected debut of an ad-supported version of Disney+; and the hope that Netflix will in coming months follow through on recent executive comments and start to sell an ad-supported tier.

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