Disney, ViacomCBS Set Virtual Upfront Events in May

ViacomCBS highlighted the company's cable networks.
ViacomCBS and the other programmers turned to virtual upfront events in 2020 (Image credit: ViacomCBS)

The Walt Disney Co. and ViacomCBS said they plan to hold upfront presentations for advertisers in their traditional May time slots, although this year they will be held virtually.

Last year’s in-person upfront events were canceled and replaced by digital events by the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic, and the recession it caused, led to upfront deals for this broadcast year not being reached until September--just before the start of the fall season. 

WarnerMedia earlier announced it will have an upfront event for its kids and family buisness on Feb. 17. A+E said it will have its upfront event on March 3. Both of those events will be virtual.

Also Read: Fox Launches Campaign, Web Portal for Ad Buyers

Disney Advertising Sales will have a unified upfront event in May that will represent its entire video portfolio. 

Disney brands represented include ABC, ABC News, Disney Channels Worldwide, Disney Digital, ESPN Networks, ESPN Plus, Freeform, FX Networks, Hulu and National Geographic Networks. 

Hulu, which had previously held an event for advertisers during the Newfronts at the Hulu Theater, will no longer have a standalone event.

Also Read: NBCU Offers Technology, Data at ‘Developer’ Meeting

Disney’s upfront will be preceded by a Disney Platform Technology Showcase on Feb. 23 for advertising clients. The event will highlight data-driven precision advertising, new ways of measuring advertising, premium ad experiences and updated transaction technology. 

NBCU recently announced a similar developer event, called One21, which will be held March 22. NBCU is also expected to have an upfront event, but it hasn’t announced its plans for that event.

On March 23 Disney will have a development event to showcase upcoming programming.

ViacomCBS confirmed that it is having an upfront event on May 19 at which all of the company’s networks will be represented.

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.