Upfront Update: CW Goes Small, NBCU Streams From Hollywood

Linda Yaccarino during NBCUniversal's upfront presentation
Linda Yaccarino during a pre-COVID NBCUniversal upfront presentation (Image credit: NBCUniversal)

The networks continue to nail down their upfront presentation plans, with The CW announcing it will be holding smaller, tailored presentations with agencies and clients.

NBCUniversal meanwhile said it will hold its virtual upfront presentation on May 17 and that parts of it will emanate from the sets of some of its shows.

“We're home to the world’s largest, best aggregation of content – keeping people informed, entertained, and connected,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman, global advertising & partnerships, NBCUniversal. “Our content is built on the shoulders of world-class broadband and streaming technology, and our new Upfront experience will showcase the vision and opportunities that connect it all.” 

Also Read: Disney, ViacomCBS Set Virtual Upfront Events in May

Last year, a big part of NBCU’s virtual upfront was a special episode of 30 Rock in which the characters at a fictional network owned by a cable company assembled a presentation for advertisers.

NBCU said this year's upfront will feature the stars of its shows, highlighting its content as well as the partnerships and technology it can use to enhance marketers' advertising campaigns.

“This year’s Upfront event is an opportunity only NBCUniversal can bring to our partners -- taking them inside our iconic programming, pulling up a chair beside our talent, and demonstrating what it's like to be a part of our family," said Josh Feldman, chief marketing officer, NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships. “We're bringing marketers into the IP that moves audiences around the world, empowering them to activate within our content, and establishing them as the benefactors of the trust and love our viewers have for our stories. Together, we can use the power of storytelling to redefine partnership; reinvent the viewing experience for our audiences; and create real business impact, from small towns to the other side of the world.” 

Also Read: Bad Audience Estimates Hurt Linear Television as Upfronts Approach

Last year, rather than trying to replicate its presentation to buyers via Zoom, the CW held a series of one-on-one virtual meetings with clients during the traditional May time frame. Last year, the pandemic canceled the usually elaborate in-person upfront presentation and delayed negotiations until just before the start of the fall season.

The CW hasn’t foreclosed the possibility of having a larger-scale event when in-person business meetings resume.

The CW will be having a teleconference for the press to unveil its fall schedule and mid-season replacement series on May 25. CW CEO Mark Pedowitz, sales chief Rob Tuck and president of digital and chief branding officer Rick Haskins will answer questions from reporters and others.

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.