ViacomCBS Sees Robust Demand In Just-Wrapped Upfront: Sports Strong, Travel, Movie Advertising Roar Back

ViacomCBS has wrapped its upfront negotiations seeing “historic demand” that was solid across the board and benefitted from the conglom’s broad portfolio strategy.

The company didn’t provide any numbers but color, from a person familiar with the negotiations, was rosy and in line with recent upbeat indications from CEO Bob Bakish and JoAnn Ross, chief advertising revenue officer — as well as fellow media companies,

NBCUniversal several weeks ago described its upfront as “a watershed moment and a clear signal that everything had changed.” It also offered no data but CEO Jeff Shell called it the strongest upfront in NBCU’s history.

Fox closed its upfront with CPM gains across its linear and digital portfolio in the range of 20%. Disney saw double-digit increases thanks to interest in live sports. More than 40% of Disney’s total upfront haul committed this year went to streaming and digital outlets.

ViacomCBS saw strong dollar volume growth in sports with excitement around the NFL schedule and “notable” demand around the CBS broadcast schedule, the person familiar with negotiations said.

Among key advertisers, there was saw strong growth from the post-pandemic return of the travel and movie categories, as well as new business from emerging DTC brands.

New streaming service Paramount+ and fast-growing Pluto TV drove significant investment and helped position ViacomCBS with meaningful reach. EyeQ, the person, said is now one of the biggest premium video ad platforms in digital media making it easier for clients to shift spend towards digital with content bundles of like-to-like groupings of programming that mirror linear product.

The person also cited significant growth in Vantage, its advanced advertising product that helped advertisers target audiences.

After being delayed and disrupted in 2020, this year’s upfront was marked by a return to normalcy in the waning days of Covid with advertisers piling in, and by a growing army of ad-supported streaming services.


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