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Sellers Lay Out Flexible Approaches to Upfronts

The upfront picture has gotten a bit clearer as programmers lay out plans to present their programming and ad products for media buyers and clients. When those clients will decide to negotiate and how much they will buy remains uncertain in an economy dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a helter-skelter approach to reopening the country. On earnings calls, media companies talked about the impact the late-March shutdown had on first-quarter profit and revenue. In some cases, those companies spelled out expectations for the second quarter, when the impact on ad sales is expected to be most severe. AMC Networks said it expected revenue to be down 30% in the second quarter and Fox forecast a 25% to 30% decline overall, with ad sales at its stations down 50%. By and large, most companies foresaw the business climate and the ad market improving by the third quarter.

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