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Disney Finishes Upfront With 40% of Ad Dollars Going to Streaming or Digital

Rita Ferro Disney Upfront
Disney Ad Sales President Rita Ferro during virtual upfront presentation

The Walt Disney Co.’s shift to streaming was reflected in its upfront, with 40% of the upfront dollars committed to its properties going to streaming or digital.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Communications Conference Monday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek noted that this is the first year Disney consolidated its ad sales across all platforms.

"The results were really encouraging across our portfolio," Chapek said. "We had price increases versus '19 that were all significant and total upfront revenue was up double digits."

Hulu, the biggest player in the ad-supported streaming TV market, was a big contributor.

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In what has proved to be a strong upfront, Disney’s volume was up by double digits for its broadcast networks, its cable networks and for sports. 

Prices on a cost-per-thousand viewers basis (CPM) were also up by double digits, although specifics were not available. The CW, a smaller player, rang up increases of 19% to 21%, according to sources. 

All broadcast day parts, cable and major sports saw strong demand.

In this upfront Disney pushed buyers to make commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion and sources indicated that the major agencies--most of which has also made diversity a priority--complied. 

Strong categories for Disney included consumer packaged goods, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, retail, technology and telecommunications and travel and leisure.