The entire TV marketplace is bracing for how economic uncertainty will impact upfront ad commitments as the industry heads into the spring selling season. Diverse-owned and targeted media particularly fear that brands' commitments to equitable investment might be among the first cuts, especially after two years of slow gains.
“When it was George Floyd, everybody wanted to spend their money because they felt guilty,” said rapper and podcaster Lore’l during a presentation from Urban One at Magna’s Equity Upfront last week. “And then when that died down, the money started scaling back too. That should be embarrassing.”
Magna’s third annual event brought together 31 diverse-owned and targeted programmers at New York City’s New World Stages to pitch programming and ad opportunities to advertisers. Hosting agency Magna shared research that advertising with multicultural media partners has grown since many brands made commitments to invest in marginalized communities in 2020, but it’s still too small a fraction of the larger ad market. Targeted ad spends for Black and Asian audiences make up only 2% each, and Spanish-language spends are only 1% higher.
“We should continue to believe that there's a growth opportunity with these segments,” said Deidre Smalls-Landau, U.S. chief marketing officer and executive VP of global business equity at Mediabrands, during a presentation. “Unfortunately, the pace of culture is moving faster than our investment.”
For its part, Magna’s parent Mediabrands said in 2022 it increased ad spend with Black-owned media by 61%. Over the same period, it grew investment with Asian-owned media 32% and Hispanic/Latino-owned media by 7%.