ViacomCBS is planning to hold a virtual upfront on May 18 and 19.
The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the traditional glitzy upfronts held in theaters in May and ViacomCBS is the first to schedule a virtual replacement, which is its dubbing “ViacomCBS Upfront @Home".
Other programmers, including Fox and Discovery are doing smaller upfront presentations aimed at particular media buying agencies and clients.
The upfront will mark the first time Viacom and CBS will go to the upfront market together following their merger at the end of last year.
“Since we know most of you continue to work remotely and we want to be mindful of your time, the “ViacomCBS Upfront @Home” will be a series of short virtual presentations over the course of two days,” said ad sales ViacomCBS president and chief advertising officer Jo Ann Ross in a note to media buyers and clients.
“On Monday, May 18, we will present many of the combined assets and leading solutions from ViacomCBS that are now at your disposal, in addition to a first look at compelling content opportunities across our Entertainment & Youth and Kids & Family brands, BET, Pluto TV and our robust digital offerings,” Ross said.
ViacomCBS will adapt to clients’ timelines in terms of when and how upfront negotiation and buys will get done. “We’re here for you whenever you’re ready,” Ross said.
Ross, who had been head of sales for CBS, said that her team and Viacom’s have come together quickly.
“This incredible progress gives me optimism for the days ahead. We have already achieved what we hoped to accomplish in bringing our sales organizations together – one team with a unified mission to provide you with the most powerful, seamless advertising solutions in the industry,” she said. “We are simply stronger together. More premium programming and culture-defining franchises spanning every content category... distributed across more complementary platforms...with more creative and sophisticated capabilities and more digital inventory... to help you connect to all of your consumers with our massive reach across every audience.”
Ross noted that she’s rather be inviting buyers to a dinner, or to CBS’s unusual upfront at Carnegie Hall. “Clearly, the current climate is different,” he noted, “but as they say at Carnegie, the show must go on!”
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