AMC cancels upfront, A+E plans virtual event due to coronavirus fears
A+E Networks and AMC are the latest media companies to cancel or postpone their upfront presentations due to the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, Comcast’s FreeWheel postponed its event, which was originally slated for March 12, and Fox News canceled its event on March 24.
AMC is canceling its event outright, while A+E Networks has decided to stream its upfront presentation instead of hosting an in-person event.
“In light of current events, we have decided to cancel our live upfront presentation scheduled for March 18 in favor of individual conversations with our advertising clients,” an AMC spokesperson said in an email.
A+E Networks originally planned to host its dog and pony show on March 25. Instead, it will hold a virtual upfront the week of March 23 where it will showcase its programming and talent, and outline plans for 2021 across its networks, which include A&E, History and Lifetime.
“The health, safety and well-being of our clients, colleagues and our industry is our top priority. A+E Networks is leaning-in to our culture of flexibility—one of the business mandates to operate in today’s world, and certainly a necessity underscored in our current environment,” Paul Buccieri, group president, A+E Networks, said in a statement.
It remains to be seen how the spread of the virus, coupled with the impact to the stock market, will affect marketers’ TV budgets heading into this year’s annual haggle, when media companies look to sell a bulk of their commercial inventory for the new season.