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US upfront CTV ad spending will exceed $6 billion this year

Upfront spending is flowing toward streaming services. Upfront CTV ad spending will grow by 34.6% to $6.41 billion this year. For context, that’s about how much we had predicted in our inaugural forecast would be spent on total CTV advertising in 2019. The CTV ad market has grown so much that this year’s upfront spending alone will mirror what was spent on CTV in its entirety three years ago.

Our upfront CTV video ad spending forecast is similar to our upfront digital video estimate in that it includes ad spending committed in advance from the TV upfronts and IAB NewFronts. Our upfront CTV estimate is a subset of our upfront digital video estimate. Whereas our digital video estimate is device agnostic, our CTV estimate is limited to digital advertising that appears on TV screens, which includes internet-enabled smart TVs as well as TVs that connect through external devices, like Roku sticks and video game consoles. And as our upfront CTV video ad spending estimate is an element of our digital video ad spending estimate, it too is based on the calendar year.

For the first time, CTV will account for more than two-thirds of US upfront digital video ad spend this year. Viewed another way, the vast majority of upfront digital video dollars are going to streaming services. While CTV isn’t entirely synonymous with digital video, it is eating up a larger share of digital budgets. Upfront spending accounts for about one-third of total CTV ad spending. In 2022, total US CTV ad spend will reach $18.89 billion.