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Discovery Upfront Falls to Concern About Virus

Caution about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has led Discovery to cancel its May upfront presentation.

Discovery said it has prepared an “alternative digital experience” to showcast the company’s portfolio of networks, programming and advanced advertising products to media buyers and clients.

“With Discovery’s increased scale and reach, we were proud and excited to showcase our expanded portfolio of beloved brands and talent, for the first time, during the traditional broadcast Upfront week. The decision to cancel is bittersweet but unequivocally the right one,” said Jon Steinlauf, Discovery’s chief U.S. ad sales officer. “We have a terrific story to tell and more opportunities and products than ever for current and prospective advertisers. We will just tell that story in a way that best suits these unprecedented times.”

Related: Everything You Need to Know About COVID-19

This year, Discovery had moved its upfront presentation to the week in May when the broadcast networks usually hold their star studded event.

But the virus has just about wiped out the annual parade of presentations, with NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, the CW and AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Xandr saying Thursday they were canceling their events.

Earlier Fox News, AMC Networks, A+E Networks and Comcast’s FreeWheel unit made similar decisions.

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.