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Discovery Finishes Upfront With High Teen Price Gains

Jon Steinlauf Discovery Upfront
Discovery Ad Sales head Jon Steinlauf during the company's upfront pitch in January

Discovery finished its upfront negotiations, gaining price increases in the high teen, at the top of the range for cable programmers, sources said.

Gaining price increases that close the gap with broadcast was a priority for Discovery, CEO David Zaslav told an investor conference in June. 

David Zaslav Discovery Stock Options

CEO David Zaslav

Media companies that own broadcast networks and WarnerMedia were able to wrap up their upfront negotiations more quickly, but by holding out, Discovery may have met its objectives.

One media buyer said that Discovery got price increases mostly in the high teens, compared to the low double digits most cable programming received. The broadcast networks scored price hikes of 19% to 22% in a market heated by a tight supply of ratings and advertisers roaring back into the market after a recession prompted by the pandemic.

One way Discovery was looking to secure higher pricing was through its Discovery Premiere product, which lets advertisers buy a package of ads in special pods in new episodes of the top-rated shows on the Discovery networks. More than 200 clients signed up for Discovery Premier in the upfront.

There was also strong demand for Discovery's streaming products, including Discovery Plus. Advertisers are shifting funds to try to reach people who don’t have cable or have cut the cord with cable.

Similarly, demand for streaming video, Discovery Advanced Advertising solutions under the Engage banner, inclusive of Advanced Targeting, Addressability and DAI, also drew attention from clients.