Upfronts Recap 2022-2023

By Robin Cohen, EVP Integrated Media Investment and Planning, and Staci Otterson, VP Media Director, Integrated Media Investment

Overall Themes:

Content was the number one theme across the board, with each network group touting the success and breadth of current content. There has also been a reinvigorated focus on diversity within content.

  • For the first time, linear broadcast content took a very noticeable back seat to streaming platforms; Peacock, Tubi, Hulu, Disney+, Discovery+ and Paramount+
  • Heavy investment in Streaming Shows/ Movies, with relatively few new linear broadcast programs
  • Networks are leaning into sports with heavy promotion of current sports rosters across NBC, FOX, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros. Discovery

The following provides a recap of the highlights by network group:

NBC Universal
Properties: NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Syfy, USA, CNBC, MSNBC

Major themes:

  • NBC Universal One Platform = Premium Content – #1 TV portfolio by total audience
    • Content-first approach
    • Success of current programs across linear and streaming
    • Focus on live content and events

New programming (highlights):

  • NBC: Quantum Leap (revamp of the original), Night Court (spin-off of original), Lopez vs. Lopez (new George Lopez comedy), Mountain Magic Christmas (new Dolly Parton holiday movie special) Peacock Originals: Bumper in Berlin (Pitch Perfect), Bupkis (Pete Davidson), Ted (comedy based on movie)
  • Peacock Original Films
  • Same-day releases in theater and on Peacock

Attribution and Currency Updates:

  • NBC Unified: enterprise data and identity platform
    • Unifies first-party data sets from across NBCU
    • Roll out starting in Q2 2022 will include 150 million unique person-level NBCU IDs mapped to 80 million households to be used for audience targeting
    • The iSpot partnership was not referenced

Disney

Properties: ABC, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN, ESPN+, FX, Nat Geo

Major themes:

  • Content and sports (most trusted brand in sports), with a focus on women in sports
  • Storytelling
  • Inclusion marketing

New programming:

  • Hulu: Reasonable Doubt (drama), Fleishman is in Trouble (drama), Welcome to Chippendales (dark comedy)
  • Disney+: Movies debuting later this year: Disenchanted, Hocus Pocus 2
  • Focus on Marvel Studios: She-Hulk series: Attorney at Law

Disney released the fall ABC schedule prior to the Upfronts but but did not focus on their new programming in the presentation.

Warner Bros. Discovery

Properties: Discovery, HGTV, Food, Magnolia, TLC, CNN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Discovery+, HBO, and HBO Max.

Major themes:

  • Merged company is largest maker of television and motion picture content in the world
  • Has a larger audience in prime (ages 25-54) YTD than any of the broadcast networks – driven by sports
  • Digital platforms – download recipes, watch sports highlights, shoppable messaging
  • 94% live prime viewing – “sports is the new prime”
  • Emphasis on Discovery+ & HBO Max

New programming:

  • HGTV: The Great Giveback (Melissa McCarthy), Lil Jon Wants to Do What?
  • The Jennifer Hudson Show – new daytime talk show (produced by Warner Bros, will air on Fox stations)
  • Discovery partnership with Ellen DeGeneres – nature/wildlife content
  • TBS series with Sarah Silverman – Stupid Pet Tricks
  • Discovery+: 200 originals in first year of Discovery+
  • HBO Max: Father of the Bride remake (Andy Garcia & Gloria Estefan), Velma (Mindy Kaling), Peacemaker (John Cena), Lizzo Documentary

Attribution/currency and other updates of note:

  • National linear addressable now in 60% of pay TV households
  • Data-driven linear – OpenAP for cross-publisher insights
  • Expanding programmatic self-service buying
  • Exploring new ways to measure audience – ComScore, iSpot, VideoAmp

Paramount

Properties: CBS, Paramount+, Comedy, MTV, VH1

Major themes:

  • Heavy focus on streaming content
  • Paramount+ has 80 million monthly full-episode viewers, on track to have 100 million subscribers by 2024
  • Inclusion marketing/content
  • Highlighted partnership with Tyler Perry with eight shows currently in production
  • Live sports

New programming:

  • Paramount+ series: George and Tammy, Tulsa King with Sylvester Stallone
  • CBS: The Real Love Boat (dating show), So Help Me Todd (drama), Fire Country (drama), East New York (drama)

Mid-season:

  • True Lies (drama), Lingo (gameshow)

FOX

Properties: Fox, Fox News, FS1, Tubi

Major themes: Heavy focus on sports and news

New programming:

  • Fox Broadcast
    • Dramas: Accused, Alert, Monarch
    • Animated: Grimsburg
    • Reality: Gordon Ramsey Food Star

Current Highlights:

Fox Sports

  • NFL: Home to two of the next three Super Bowls
  • College Football
  • FIFA World Cup 2022
  • MLB
  • NASCAR
  • USFL
  • Friday Night Smackdown (#1 among P18-49)

Tubi: The largest free on-demand ad platform with 40,000+ titles

  • For the first time, all World Cup games will be streaming on-demand at no cost
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