The largest TV networks have canceled their upfront presentations on Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Disney and Hulu are the latest to announce they will no longer host in-person events in May as planned.
“In light of recent events, and for the safety of our staff, talent, clients and partners, Disney Advertising Sales is reinventing both its Hulu Newfront and TWDC Upfront presentations," according to a statement. "Production plans are already underway to develop two star-studded and innovative streaming events, showcasing the breadth and depth of Disney’s rich portfolio and infrastructure. We are committed to redefining how we bring clients the best storytelling and advertising opportunities. A more detailed announcement of alternative presentation plans will be forthcoming.”
Earlier in the day, NBCUniversal, CBS, WarnerMedia, Fox and The CW, released similar statements.
In an interesting move, NBCU plans to both stream and televise its presentation, meaning it will be open not only to the ad industry but to consumers and fans, too. In a statement, the company said this reflects “the increasingly direct relationship between NBCUniversal, its fans and its partners. This will now allow all audiences to tune in for a sneak peek at the future of NBCUniversal's programming.”
Per usual, the Peacock’s presentation will feature talent from its networks, as well as new programming announcements.
"At this moment in time, we can embrace a new future that puts our audiences and our partners first. This year's Upfront Presentation will ensure everyone's safety, while allowing us to give fans and marketers a preview of the upcoming season," said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising & partnerships, NBCUniversal.
CBS, meanwhile, will forego its presentation at Carnegie Hall for a video upfront special that will posted to digital platforms on May 13. It will also skip its agency dinners, with insights shared in those meetings now being delivered “digitally via video and other formats.”
“We’ll miss Carnegie Hall and our agency dinners this year, but the health and safety of our clients and the ViacomCBS team comes first,” said Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer, domestic advertising sales, ViacomCBS.
WarnerMedia had originally planned to host a joint upfront with AT&T ad unit Xandr on May 13. That presentation will now be in the form of a "unique video experience," Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer, WarnerMedia and Kirk McDonald, chief business officer, Xandr, said in a joint statement.
Fox canceled its event at the Beacon Theatre and instead will host a digital presentation. "We are reimagining our presentation to engage our clients using a new format that will highlight the quality content the industry expects from Fox," Marianne Gambelli, president of ad sales, Fox, said in a statement.
The CW is "exploring alternative and innovative ways" of communicating its strategy and showcasing its new and returning programming, the network said in a statmement. "We will be sharing additional details as we move forward."
Discovery canceled its live upfront scheduled for May 12 at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The company has prepared an "alternative digital experience" with details to be announced at a later date.