25 MAY 2021

US TV ADVERTISERS PROJECTED TO SPEND $20 BILLION AT 2021 UPFRONTS

A total $2 billion drop in upfront TV ad spending seen in the last two years. This season, spending level will likely return to pre-pandemic levels, seeing a 7.6% increase to $19.90 billion.

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Emarketer recently revealed its “Media & Entertainment 2022: Top Trends in Experience Management” report, which details various trends projected to make its presence at this year’s upfronts, at which US TV Advertisers are expected to spend approximately $20 billion.

This season, spending level will likely return to pre-pandemic levels, seeing a 7.6% increase to $19.90 billion. During the 2020–2021 season, not as many advertisers exited the TV market as predicted. In June 2020,  there was a forecast of a 27.1% decrease in that season’s upfront TV ad spending. A 3.5% dip is expected as advertisers spend $18.50 billion on upfront commitments with TV networks. 

The figures reflect TV ad spending resulting from the national primetime TV upfronts, including linear and digital inventory that broadcast networks and cable channels sell during the upfronts but excludes upfront commitments that don’t ultimately result in a transaction. 

Pullouts also contributed to the figures, with a $2 billion drop in upfront TV ad spending seen in the last two years. Cancellation Rates are expected to return to normal levels this season as brands become more confident in their long-term strategies. “Because some upfront commitments get canceled, commitment estimates differ from what advertisers end up spending,” Emarketer explained.

Current projections drastically differ from the researcher’s previous forecast, which mentioned continued decline amid the pandemic, with an estimated 1.4% drop in upfront TV ad spending for the 2019–2020 season. The pandemic led TV advertisers to ultimately cancel $3 billion of their upfront commitments. “This development led us to lower our estimate for the 2019–2020 upfronts, and we now believe upfront TV ad spending dipped by 6.8% in that cycle,” Emarketer noted.

This development led us to lower our estimate for the 2019–2020 upfronts, and we now believe upfront TV ad spending dipped by 6.8% in that cycle.” Emarketer

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