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Disney Shows Creative, Tech Muscle at Virtual Roadshow

Stars from Disney's networks appeared in Zoom mode during its Roadshow for media buyers and clients. (Image credit: Disney)

At a virtual event that replaced its normal upfront presentation because of COVID-19, Disney Ad Sales outlined advanced advertising initiatives aimed at producing better results for clients whose businesses have been--like Disney--battered by the pandemic.

Disney said it is joining the test of Nielsen’s addressable advertising system and using Samba TV to offer advertisers cross-platform, cross-portfolio attribution that measures how campaigns perform in terms of foot traffic, digital engagement, brand lift and reach and frequency across linear, digital and connected TV.

Related: Disney’s Ferro On This Year’s Market and the Upfront’s Future 

With Hulu now owned by Disney, it launched Disney Hulu XP, a cross platform product offering a large-scale addressable audience, with a single invoice and guarantees based on completed video views and a Disney Advertising Sales Programmatic platform offering all biddable video inventory across Disney and Hulu.

Related: Kimmel Praises ABC’s Social Distancing from Young Viewers

The advertising arm of Hulu’s GreenHouse is now a part of Disney CreativeWorks, which created ads and branded content for Disney clients.

Related: ABC’s Burke Tells Buyers New Shows Are In the Works 

During the presentation there were stars, jokes and talk of new shows, but no new schedule or an announcement of when the new season would start.

Instead the presentation went into depth about Disney’s assets, now including Hulu, and the strength of its storytelling, connection to consumers and culture.

Michael Law, executive VP & managing director of US Media Investment for Dentsu Aegis Network, said he thought the presentation was well done.

“It provided a good, tight update on their overall portfolio and thoughts on how they are managing the current challenges,” said Law. “While we are used to seeing clips and highlights of new content, given the current environment we know that is not realistic, so the channel and business updates were helpful for our teams and clients. It was the right balance of business and entertainment value.

In addition to canceling the networks’ glitzy presentations, the pandemic has disrupted the upfront market.Some estimate that 33% less money than last year will committed to TV advertising in the 2020-21 season in the upfront market, although some of those funds may resurface in the scatter market. 

The Roadshow opened with Anthony Anderson and the staff of the fictional ad agency from ABC’s Black-ish and ended with quarterback Tom Brady, who is doing a show for ESPN, intercepting the agency’s Zoom meeting.

Anthony Anderson and his TV colleagues opened Disney Ad Sales' Roadshow. 

Anthony Anderson and his TV colleagues opened Disney Ad Sales' Roadshow.  (Image credit: Disney)

“While being with all of you at a live event at Lincoln Center is energizing in every way, we are so excited about today,” said Rita Ferro, president of Disney Ad Sales during what was dubbed the Disney Virtual Roadshow. Disney held nine Roadshows, each designed for different media -buying agencies.

“The events of the world have been a catalyst for innovation for all of us, leading us to new ways of working,” Ferro said. “At Disney Advertising, our purpose is clear. We’re here to serve you, our long-time partners in the growth, health and in some cases, renewal of your businesses.”

Tom Brady threw the last pass for Disney.

Tom Brady threw the last pass for Disney. (Image credit: Disney)

This year, Disney Advertising includes more streaming with Hulu and reaches 284 million people per month..

Ferro said data from Hulu will be added to the first-party data that Disney uses to model hundreds of psychographic and behavioral attributes.

“This rich combined data pool is being used to create hundreds of audience-based ad solutions and formats that span our entire addressable platform,” she said.

Last year, Disney introduced its Luminate advanced advertising suite and Ferro said the company has added new linear addressability, attribution and automation capabilities.

The company now has a unified programmatic approach that allows the use of client audience data for enhanced targeting and the ability to measure and manage brand frequency across the total Disney digital platform, she said.

In addition to existing category measurement tools, Disney is providing an end-to-end attribution solution that spans both linear and digital.

“This will enable the measurement of specific KPIs around purchase intent, point of sale, creative effectiveness and time spent with your brands,” Ferro said.

Ferro also touted the work of Disney Creative Works, which creates ads and branded content for clients, such as the spots created featuring 90s SportsCenter clips that aired during the ESPN docu-series on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance.

“Content and context matter, the past few months have been challenging and we've been there for you. We will continue to be here for you and count on us to deliver for you.” 

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.