Netflix Cancels First Live Upfront After Striking Writers Plan Disruption

Netflix's Paris Theater in New York
Netflix was to hold its upfront at the company-owned Paris Theater in New York. (Image credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Netflix at the last minute canceled its first live upfront presentation after striking writers said they planned to disrupt the event.

The streaming service notified attendees Wednesday night that the presentation would be made virtually instead of at the Paris Theater, which has been run by Netflix since 2019.

The company did not give a reason for the shift, although published reports indicated the New York Police Department expressed concerns about pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the event.

After years of being unabashedly ad-free, Netflix last year introduced a lower-priced ad-supported tier. Media buyers have given Netflix’s business mixed reviews because a limited number of subscribers have signed up. The service is also limited in its targeting capabilities, although Netflix is expected to announce new features as part of its presentation.

Netflix announced in January it would be holding an upfront presentation. It took the Wednesday night slot of upfront week vacated by CBS and its parent Paramount Global. CBS’s event was usually held at Carnegie Hall.

The Writers Guild of America strike could have an effect on other upfront presentations if talent decides not to cross picket lines. Striking writers marched in front of NBCUniversal’s Peacock NewFront presentation last week on Fifth Avenue.

Netflix said it would not have talent as part of its virtual presentation.

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.