Disney breaks records

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Disney has completed its « upfront » ad sales process for 2022-2023, with a record $9 billion. (The term « up front » refers to these « upstream » transactions).

In addition to Disney+, the company also sold ads for content on ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN+, Freeform, FX, Hulu and National Geographic.

Disney’s announcement coincides with Peacock surpassing $1 billion in initial ad sales for the first time this spring, and shows that advertisers are investing more where their audience is watching.

After a lull due to the pandemic, the media giant has redoubled its efforts in sports and live events in an effort to cushion ad sales that are under pressure from record inflation and geopolitical turmoil.

Live sports broadcasting remains one of linear television’s most important assets, and Disney has paid a high price to compete in this area. In the recent renewal of the NFL broadcast deal, the company agreed to pay $2.6 billion a year to continue airing « Monday Night Football, » and some games will also be shown on ABC this season.

In addition to sports, Disney+ will continue to carry Marvel series such as « She-Hulk: Attorney at Law » and « Andor » while « Dancing With the Stars » will be exclusively on the streamer. 

Hulu has also long been the benchmark for ad-based video-on-demand (AVOD) platforms. 

Ad rates increased in streaming, sports, broadcast and cable, the company said, with premium seeing double-digit increases and addressable ads seeing high single-digit increases. Unlike traditional ads, addressable ads allow specific customers to be targeted based on their purchase history or other factors that go well beyond traditional age and gender parameters.

Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales for Disney Media and Entertainment said, « Disney Advertising is committed to our strategic priorities – streaming, multicultural and inclusion, sports and entertainment – and we have delivered. I’m proud to partner with all of our clients to reach audiences at scale across all screens, and alongside the most premium content. »


By Mélissa Walehiane

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