Variety (7/30) reports that the 2020/21 Upfront is underway, with media agencies “negotiating with TV Networks in earnest over advance purchases of advertising time.” While it’s anticipated that talks may continue through Labor Day, multiple sources acknowledge that this year’s volume will be lower than previous years. Given the uncertainties around the pandemic, agencies are looking for “flexibility” while establishing contingency plans for sporting events as well as maintain CPM efficiencies.
An analysis from Standard Media Index found that national TV advertising declined 9% (vs. the previous year) to $3.2 billion in June; a smaller decline than April (-28%) May (-19%). Together, 2nd quarter 2020 is reported to be down 19% vs. 2nd quarter 2019. With no NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup or regular season MLB, sports was the primary driver of the decline in June, leading to a 60% reduction for just sports. Positive indicators of sports spending included the return of PGA golf, soccer, NASCAR, and horse racing. Additionally, support of news content was 2% higher than the same period last year due to high interest in the pandemic and economic downturn (Mediapost; 8/5/20).
The “Cross-Platform Television Viewing Time Report – 2020” produced by research company Omdia, found that Linear TV generated 63% of US TV viewing in 2019 (Nexttv.com; 7/29). Long-form online viewing (e.g. SVOD services) accounted for 16%, while DVR viewing was at 12%. Linear’s 63% is down from 67% in 2018 (down 19 minutes year to year). The global report found similar trends in the other countries that they looked at: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
In a separate study, SambaTV, a research firm that looks at viewership among connected TV households, found that June 2020 household viewership was down 1% vs. June 2019 among the 27 measured networks. However, among those watching, viewership increased by 39%. News channels were the big winners (Fiercevideo.com; 8/4).
The campaign to elect Joe Biden announced a $280 million ad campaign for the fall; comprising of $220 million in television and $60 million across digital properties (The New York Times; 8/5.) With a start date of September 1st, the campaign is reported to be the largest reservation for either candidate. The Trump campaign has reserved more than $145 million on TV across 11 states, while the recent Biden campaign will extend to 15 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin). The campaign is also running on national event programming and targeting Black households including BET, TV1, Bounce, and OWN. Campaign outreach also indicates a large Latino focused advertising across Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Dr. Quentin Lee, a high school principal from Alabama put a humorous and musical spin on the “very serious measures his school is taking this fall to protect students and staff against COVID-19.” Dr. Lee wrote and performed a Covid-19 parody of M.C. Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This”, including lyrics like, “COVID! Is stressing me, all the updates from the CDC. Lysol! Can’t be found, I’ve looked all around this town.” The video has already received over 1.8 million views (GMA.com; 8/4/20)