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Lights, camera, CTV? An upfronts spending breakdown | Sponsored Content

This article was contributed by MNTN.

It looks like the days of status quo upfronts are behind us. This year, the upfronts and NewFronts were rocked by a writers strike, currency fragmentation, and an unstable economy.

And with streaming quickly taking the lead in TV land, many advertisers are taking advantage of the flexibility of connected TV (CTV) rather than committing all their ad dollars to linear. Now that it’s all said and done, how much did the upheaval actually impact the way advertisers divided their spend?

The changing dynamics of upfront TV ad spending

Linear is no longer the be-all and end-all. In fact, US upfront TV ad spending will fall to $18.64 billion for the 2023–2024 TV season, according to eMarketer—a drop of 3.6% from the season prior. And while experts expect upfront spend to make a slight recovery in the 2024–2025 season, it looks like linear upfront spending will remain mostly flat for the foreseeable future.

CTV, on the other hand, was the real star of the show. Upfront and NewFront advertisers are expected to spend $8.66 billion on CTV ads, which should come as no surprise to those paying attention to the evolving TV advertising landscape. After all, we’ve seen more and more advertisers adopt CTV into their TV strategies over the past year. MNTN recently conducted a survey with Advertising Week to find out how marketers are using CTV advertising, and 60% reported using CTV advertising in the last year. At this year’s upfronts, that change in priorities had an impact: 59% of advertisers planned to either lead with CTV or balance their linear and CTV buys equally, and 29% said they planned to spend more on CTV, according to research by Advertiser Perceptions and The Trade Desk Intelligence.

Let performance TV power your upfront strategies

But why the new focus on CTV? These days, it’s all about performance. In a time when staying nimble and being able to prove the value of campaigns are among your highest priorities, using CTV as a performance channel can make all the difference. Most advertisers are already onboard, too: MNTN’s Advertising Week survey found that two-thirds of marketers classify CTV as a performance marketing channel, and 52% are using this channel to generate measurable web visits, conversions, and revenues.

One of the best things about CTV, though, is that brands get the traditional benefits of linear TV, too: its power as a performance channel can drive brand awareness at the same time when brands mine their CTV campaign data to give their campaigns an informed boost. In other words, no more throwing strategies at a wall and hoping they stick. To take full advantage of everything CTV has to offer, brands should look to work with a tech stack that does most of the heavy lifting for them, from creative production to campaign measurement, and everything in between.

For more CTV trends, check out eMarketer’s “Upfront TV and Digital Video Forecasts and Trends 2023” report, presented by MNTN.