Discovery to move its upfront into broadcast week
Discovery, it seems, doesn’t want to be left out of the TV upfront fanfare and next year will move its dog-and-pony show to the week typically dedicated to broadcast networks.
The cable behemoth, which acquired Scripps Networks in March 2018, will host its 2020 presentation the morning of May 12. This year, AT&T’s Xandr hosted its presentation during that time slot. Discovery’s event will move to Jazz at Lincoln Center from Alice Tully Hall.
Discovery has long hosted its New York presentation in April. But times have certainly changed as mega-mergers have resulted in fewer stand-alone presentations from cable channels. Walt Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets this year meant networks like FX and National Geographic, which have typically hosted presentations in April, were weaved into Disney’s unified event.
Discovery believes that, following its acquisition of Scripps, it now has the scale to justify presenting alongside companies like Disney and NBC Universal.
“We are the biggest player in the cable network business right now when you look at audience and revenue,” says Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. advertising sales officer at Discovery. “Clients and agency execs from all around the country continue to travel to New York City during that week and they want us to be there.”
While Steinlauf says hosting its presentation in April allowed the company to get out ahead of its competitors, it also meant there was distance between its stage show and the start of negotiations.
Upfront negotiations haven’t started in earnest just yet, but Steinlauf says activity is more advanced than it was at this stage in previous years.
AMC Networks, Hallmark Channel and A&E Networks are the few cable programmers left that host upfront events ahead of broadcast week.
Discovery will continue hosting a roadshow in various cities throughout the U.S. in addition to its New York presentation.