Direct-to-consumer brands have flooded the streaming TV marketplace in recent years, and while momentum isn’t expected to slow, these ad dollars won’t necessarily show up in full force during this year’s upfront negotiations.
The need for flexibility, especially in the unsteady economic climate, continues to make long-term TV commitments intimidating for many DTC brands at this stage.
Eyewear brand Zenni Optical, for instance, has increased its investment in connected TV by 100% year over year (it paused CTV completely last year), but Amanda Beamish, associate director, performance marketing, at the company, said upfronts aren’t in its roadmap for 2023.
“We like to be very fluid and flexible,” Beamish said. By definition, upfront deals lock a brand into a long-term ad commitment. The trade-off typically is a cheaper price (and more sought-after inventory) than when purchasing commercial time closer to the air date in the so-called “scatter” marketplace.
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“Our DTC clients are usually very nimble—they love flexibility,” said Robin Cohen, executive VP, integrated media investment and planning at DTC media planning and buying agency Rain the Growth Agency, which has worked with DTC clients such as Lume and Rothy’s.
“Looking at that, and then looking at, you know, where the marketplace is going right now, it doesn't feel like it makes a lot of sense to push some of these advertisers into the upfronts, because my prediction is that we’re still going to have a very healthy scatter marketplace, and we’re going to be able to get deals moving into next year,” she continued.