Media Buyers Upbeat as Upfronts Near, But See Shift to Programmatic

IAB Media Buyer Survey
(Image credit: IAB)

Media buyers are more optimistic in 2021, but they said they're looking to spend less upfront and more programmatically, according to a study by the IAB.

The IAB said that optimism among buyers has increased in just the past five month when its last survey was taken. In the new survey 21% were very confident and 40% were confident. Just 11% of buyers said they were not confident. 

The buyers also said that their media budgets were being reviewed less frequently, which could indicate some consistency in the market.

The IAB, which represents online media companies, said buyers expect digital video, including over-the-top and connected TV to have the highest share of media budgets at 20%. That compares to 18% for linear broadcast and cable TV.

The buyers said they liked digital videos wide audience, young consumers and influences fan bases.

While buying CTV, more money is moving programmatically, and less in the traditional upfronts. The survey found that 54% of buyers said they’ll allocate more money to programmatic. When it comes to the upfront 37% said they’ll be allocating fewer dollars and 31% said they’ll spend less in the TV scatter market.

Among linear TV buyers 37% said they allocate less of their budgets to the traditional upfront and 37% also said they’d allocate less to the TV scatter market.

The top item media buyer said they were investing in was first party data. Spending on first party data is expected to rise 26% in 2021. Buyers are also investing 23% more on measurement KPIs and 23% more on shoppable ads

The survey found that 64% of buyers were using a self-service platform for buying digital video. 

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.