2022 Upfronts: Priorities from Both Sides of the Negotiating Table

Dave Coleman, senior VP, strategy & development, Ocean Media
(Image credit: Ocean Media)

The 2022 Upfront presentations have now wrapped up, which means the 2022 Upfront negotiations have officially begun. 

Both the media networks and the media agencies will be shifting their strategies to adapt to new TV viewer behaviors while also demanding more accountability in the media buying process which means data science and measurement will get an even more prominent seat at the negotiation table as networks and agencies work to optimize their inventory and ad investments. 

With networks and advertisers re-evaluating their priorities - here are some of the trends that will be leading the discussions as $20 billion dollars’ worth of media budgets are negotiated over the next few months.

Priorities for Networks

1.    Cross-Portfolio Investment

Networks are looking to partner with clients and agencies that can invest across the portfolio of brands and platforms these networks now represent. In last year’s tight marketplace, this meant trimming some upfront clients based on their ability to buy across the various channels. Clients should look to diversify their investments across the entire portfolio in broadcast, sports, cable, streaming, and digital.

2.    Experimentation with New Currencies

Networks will test and encourage advertisers to transact on different currencies. Most media companies are currently beta testing with different measurement partners (iSpot, comScore, VideoAmp) instead of Nielsen and will allow deals on new currencies in the upfront. 

3.    Unified ID Solutions

Networks are moving toward using their first-party data to deliver audience insights. They'll standardize ID and ad tech across their portfolios and use new cleanroom solutions to merge publisher data with advertiser data to support campaign execution and attribution.

Priorities for Agencies

1.    Flexibility

Clients need more flexibility in their media strategies as they navigate through a shifting economy while also responding to the latest world events. More flexibility in cancellation policies and options to move inventory across the portfolio will be a key driver for clients. 

2.    Transparency

As networks look to move more inventory into CTV, advertisers will require clarity around how, where, and to whom their ads are being served.

3.    Understanding Different Metrics

Despite several emerging options, agencies are looking for a unified solution across all media partners. Changing currencies will impact not only purchased media, but also the internal processes and systems at agencies to accommodate the new metrics.


With the media ecosystem in the middle of a massive disruption, cross-platform buys that have greater flexibility and a greater rigor on data and measurement will come out on top in this market. 

Ocean Media is the largest independent media agency on the West Coast.

Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman is president of Ocean Media, an independent media buying agency based in Huntington Beach, California.