Amazon saw a 40% increase in the number of advertisers committing to streaming video deals during this year's upfront ad haggle, according to the company.
Late Thursday, Amazon shared a blog post about how it fared in negotiations for ad commitments. Amazon participated for the first time at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's NewFronts this spring, an indication of the growing importance of connected TV and over-the-top TV advertising for its business.
“We’ve been laser-focused on investing in premium content, creating innovative ad experiences, and making streaming TV advertising smarter and simpler as viewing habits continue to change,” Mark Eamer, VP of video ads and IMDb TV, Amazon Advertising, said in the blog post.
The company did not disclose how much money upfront advertisers committed or the total number of brands in that pool of buyers. The announcement did offer some insights into how Amazon positioned itself in the marketplace, though, offering deep integrations with brands inside original programming on IMDb TV, for instance. It also touted its shopping data as a bonus for advertisers.
Amazon says it reaches 120 million streaming viewers through Amazon over-the-top TV platforms like Fire TV, ad-supported IMDb TV and Twitch, the live streaming site. Amazon is investing heavily in programming for IMDb TV and Prime Video. This year, Amazon struck a deal with the National Football League to exclusively stream Thursday Night Football starting in 2022. Amazon also has a deal to buy MGM movie studio, although that acquisition faces potential regulatory friction in the U.S.
Amazon is competing with YouTube, Roku, Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and other TV and digital companies to win advertisers that are looking for new viewers outside of broadcast TV. A recent report from eMarketer predicted that digital upfront ad spending would rise 50% year-over-year in 2021 to $4.5 billion.
Amazon’s announcement coincided with its earnings report, which showed it increased advertising revenue by 83% year-over-year to $8 billion in the second quarter.
Amazon offered some insights into the types of advertising deals it focused on during negotiations. Amazon has standard commercial breaks inside much of its ecosystem, but the company also talked about “branded entertainment opportunities with IMDb TV.”
“This includes organically featuring products or services in the storylines of IMDb TV Originals, and producing custom, co-branded creative assets for streaming TV campaigns or other channels like social media,” Amazon said in its announcement.
GroupM’s chief digital investment officer Susan Schiekofer was quoted in the announcement, calling Amazon video pitch a “very compelling offering.”
“We are constantly evaluating how we can better serve our clients and deliver solutions that help extend the value of their media investments,” Schiekofer said.
This comes in the wake of many traditional TV networks experiencing strong demand and pricing increases in their upfront negotiations, as many categories that sat out of deal making last year due to COVID-19 came back in full force, and thanks to ratings declines, inventory remained scarce.