Netflix closed its first upfront last week, and by all accounts, the streamer has come a long way with the ad community since its first round of negotiations last fall—even if advertisers committed fewer dollars in some cases.
Overall, the ad spend committed to Netflix’s upfront was flat or down compared to the streamer’s initial deals around its ad tier launch last year, according to multiple media buyers. But the buyers anticipate a higher percentage of those budgets will actually be spent this time around. In late 2022, Digiday reported Netflix was coming up short on delivering the audience it promised to advertisers post-launch, meaning some advertisers were unable to actually spend the dollars they had intended. Now, buyers are optimistic that the streamer will be able to deliver on guarantees and put their ad dollars to use. (It's worth noting Netflix's initial negotiations for its ad tier took place outside of the traditional upfront selling season.)
“We’re committing less, but the less is more real,” said one buyer. “Our new deal has a lower, more realistic endeavor and the actual spend that sticks will likely be up versus a year ago.”