TV upfronts day 3—Netflix reveals new data, YouTube vies for TV dollars and Max’s ad model

Welcome to Ad Age’s TV upfronts 2023 newsletter. We are wrapping up coverage from this week’s dog-and-pony shows. You can find more on all of the ad pitches and the state of negotiations here.

Netflix reveals new viewing data 

Netflix finally revealed just how many users are on its ad tier, info that brands have eagerly been awaiting. During its upfront pitch—which last week pivoted to virtual—Netflix said its ad tier reaches 5 million monthly active users globally. This is the first time Netflix has connected a number to its ad tier, and according to the company, more than a quarter of new subscribers choose the ad-supported tier. It also noted 70% of its ad tier users fall within the highly coveted 18-to-49 demographic.

On the measurement front, Netflix also announced it struck a deal with EDO to measure outcomes, allowing advertisers to estimate the search response and website visits their ads generate without requiring any personally identifiable subscriber information.

Read more about Netflix’s first upfront here

Why YouTube can’t be ignored 

For advertisers, YouTube is becoming something of a must-buy, according to Horizon Media’s Chief Investment Officer David Campanelli

“YouTube is different content, different length than typically what’s on network and streamers, but it’s also reflected in the CPMs that we pay,” he said in an interview. “We pay an appropriate price for the content we’re airing in. You just can’t ignore YouTube. It is the largest CTV streaming entity out there and you just can’t ignore it. The viewers have spoken, so to speak, and are spending time there and that’s something that can’t be avoided anymore—it’s not just short videos on your phone. Now it’s on the TV screen too.”

Read the full Q&A with Campanelli here

Colgate-Palmolive, for one, is doubling spend on YouTube, according to Diana Haussling, VP, general manager, digital commerce at Colgate-Palmolive, who spoke at YouTube Brandcast on Wednesday.

On YouTube, “we’re building a new modern marketing playbook,” Haussling said, while presenting a case study from Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s Pet Nutrition brand. Haussling said the brand’s return-on-investment metrics were up 20% year over year on YouTube. Colgate-Palmolive’s total ad commitment to YouTube was not revealed, but Haussling said it was doubling its investment.

Colgate-Palmolive participates in YouTube Select, which is the ad package that reserves inventory in a pool of the top-performing channels and creators. Colgate-Palmolive supplements those upfront ad buys through participation in Google’s ad auctions.

YouTube’s Brandcast was held at Lincoln Center, where it presented a slate of its biggest creators, including a video message from MrBeast, a.k.a. Jimmy Donaldson. Pop star Doja Cat closed Brandcast with a medley of hits.

Read more about YouTube’s Brandcast here


How Max is going to market 

Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s revamped streaming platform, will debut next week, and the media company used its upfront presentation to lay out the new ad opportunities on the platform. Aside from traditional pre- and mid-roll ads, there are also takeovers, which allow brands to be the first ad a user sees on a specific date, along with pause ads, carousel ads and interactive options like trivia games. 

Warner Bros. Discovery also unveiled a new sales platform called WBD Stream, which reflects similar pushes throughout the week from NBCU’s One Platform or Fox’s One Fox to battle viewer fragmentation with targeted advertising with cross-screen buying.

Read more about Max here


Inclusive efforts 

Warner Bros. Discovery also announced the creation of a new team designed to help brands better connect with multicultural audiences. That team will sit in its ad sales division and be led by Sheereen Russell, executive VP of ad sales and inclusive solutions.

Read more about the team here

How brands are making good on their commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts was a part, albeit a small one, of upfront pitches this week. Disney earlier this week provided an update on its call-to-action for brands to up their spend on diverse-targeted content. 

“Already this year, we’ve seen a larger amount of DE&I investment planned than all of fiscal year ‘22,” said Adam Monaco, executive VP of sales at Disney

Disney’s ad sales chief Rita Ferro is asking advertisers to expand their lens for diversity to include gender, race, disability, sexual identity and veterans. Last week, Disney announced partnerships with Group Black, Equal Pride, UnitedMasters Inc. and Mecenas Media’s Cocina to create branded content for advertisers.

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