This year’s Upfronts marked the first time the major broadcast networks essentially introduced themselves to advertisers as streaming companies. With a greater emphasis than ever related to viewership of broadcast content on streaming services, the push to get inside the content was also stronger than ever. Brands with existing representation have already started to build relationships with creators of originals airing on Disney+, Paramount+ and HBO Max, with this year’s Upfront presentations a louder call for other brands to adjust their advertising strategies in the face of a transition to streaming.

BEN Takeaways

Streaming is King
The 2021 Upfronts reiterated more than ever that streaming is where audiences are consuming their content and media. With the shift in audiences migrating to AVOD and SVOD platforms as their primary access to content providers, the major broadcasters are turning their focus on investing in and building out their library of programming to be where the consumer is watching.

Diversity, Diversity, Diversity
Broadcasters are pushing out diverse content with an inclusive POV, emphasizing a mix of genres, stories, and talent, while highlighting both scripted and unscripted content. Content is being crafted for a more diverse audience with crossover genres and broadcasters are enabling creators to expand into inclusive, relatable narratives while brands gain an impactful way to connect with audiences.

Investing in Talent
Networks are leaning into securing overall talent deals with top names in the entertainment industry to join their programming and many are relying on talent personalities to draw in viewers. With these exclusive deals, broadcasters are distinguishing themselves and differentiating their unique brands in a cluttered landscape.


Source: Disney Upfront (May 18, 2021)

This year has shown that diversity and inclusion have become a priority for programmers and brands alike as they recognize who their viewers are and how to align with them. Identifying diverse audiences and becoming more relevant within the content they’re consuming will be a huge win for brands this year.