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Q3 2020 Digital Video Trends

COVID-19 Shakes Up the TV Upfronts

About This Report
TV ad spending takes a hit as marketers adjust their budgets amid a recession.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

This is the latest installment in an ongoing series of quarterly video overviews focusing on monetization, audience, platforms, and content. On the radar for Q3: how the coronavirus pandemic affected the upfronts.

How much will be spent on TV advertising?

In June, we adjusted our 2020 US TV ad spending estimate down from $71.18 billion to $60.00 billion.

What’s the latest with the TV upfronts?

We reduced our 2019/2020 US upfront ad spending forecast from $21.25 billion to $20.28 billion. For the 2020/2021 season, upfront ad spending was lowered from $21.64 billion to $14.78 billion. Together, $7.83 billion less will be spent in the US TV upfront market during these two seasons than previously expected.

How is connected TV (CTV) advertising faring?

US CTV ad spending will increase by 25.2% in 2020, a bright spot in this year’s ad market.

How did the pandemic boost over-the-top (OTT) viewing?

We raised our forecast for 2020 US monthly subscription OTT viewers from 192.7 million to 207.5 million.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers key events in the digital video industry based on data, trends, and business activity in Q3 2020. It includes updated forecasts for TV and digital video ad spending. It also contains inaugural forecasts for pay TV and virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), Disney+, ESPN+, and Apple TV+ viewers, and new breakouts for CTV demographics.

KEY STAT: For the 2020/2021 season, upfront ad spending was reduced from $21.64 billion to $14.78 billion.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Monetization
  3. Audience
  1. Platforms
  2. Content
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery


Ross Benes


Eric Haggstrom
Forecasting Analyst
Chuck Rawlings
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