Reading Time: 3 minutes
Remote control pointing at smart TV with apps on the screen

TV upfronts are a big deal and are worth millions in negotiations to network media buyers and TV networks. Every summer there is an upfront in which large inventory pools are sold by station networks to advertising agencies in order to ‘get the best deal’ for national clients. Traditionally the TV stations sell about 70% of their national TV inventory in the upfront selling period which starts in June, with cable TV networks making upfront deals for around 50% to 60% of their inventory. This year OTT provider Roku came to the table, and they came with industry changing standards:

“Unlike TV networks, Roku says it is much more flexible when it comes to marketers adjusting their media buys. Roku offers a two-day cancellation option. For traditional TV, marketers typically can cancel only 25% of their buys in the first quarter and 50% in each of the second and third quarters — and must do so with a 60-day advance notice.”

Roku as a Disruptor

Linear TV is already under immense pressure to compete with digital, impression-based buys. The digital space is advantageous for TV marketers because of all the analytics and data that can track spots down to the household and viewers within those households. Linear TV and cable providers have taken a big hit in ratings because of the rise of OTT viewership (that has trackability) during the COVID pandemic. As audiences fragment further linear TV and Nielsen data sources are trying their best to figure out a way to measure their audience viewership more accurately. Not only is Roku disrupting the Linear space but now the upfront negotiations.

What Makes Roku Such a Big Player in the Space?

“Roku touts OneView, its ad buying platform, as the first platform to feature Nielsen-measured reach and frequency reporting across all four screens: linear TV, TV streaming, desktop and mobile.”

“One of the immutable laws of television holds that people between the ages of 18 and 49 are the most desirable viewers to reach. This year, the networks want to loosen that definition.” 

Millennials were the first generation to really break up with linear TV, and the Gen Zoomers are following that trend. It’s evident the death of linear tv sales is happening in real time.

As Audiences Fragment so does the Advertising Inventory

NBCUniversal has made no secret of the fact that it believes streaming video represents the new primetime. Ad buyers say the company is in some instances seeking eye-popping increases of around 50% in CPMs – the cost to reach 1,000 viewers, a unit that is central to the annual upfront negotiations – for ad on Peacock. The CPM rates for HBOMax are said to possibly be even higher.”

Gone are the days where upfronts where between the 4-6 top station networks. These negotiations will continue to see more and more big players in the OTT space participate. There may even come a day where prime linear TV inventory is offered as ‘added value’ to an OTT campaign.

Clients, whether national, regional, or local, need to look to their agencies to place their messages inside OTT and CTV now, if they want to capture a lion share of the younger generations. If your agency isn’t well versed in both forms of media, then it’s time for you to look for another agency.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The past year of the pandemic slowed the production of many of our favorite TV shows. The good news is it looks like 2021 will be full of great content to choose from.

The continued fragmentation of audience viewership has opened up the competition for great content as well. Last summer, all the network TV stations launched their own OTT platforms, in which they pulled back a lot of their own shows and movies. You may find that your favorite episodes are no longer on HULU for free or on other apps like TUBI or IMBD. NBC, CBS, FOX and ABC now protect their own content residing within these platforms. I do find the Amazon firestick search option helps find my own favorites. If you do a search there, Amazon will tell you all the places you can find the content you are seeking, free or paid.

There is a flurry of great shows coming as viewers seemed to have gobbled up tons of content last year, sitting home throughout the pandemic. As the funnel of free content gets slimmer, I hope this extensive list of upcoming shows to look out for will help in your own search for the next show you binge on.

  • Pretend it’s a City – Netflix
    Directed by Martin Scorsese
    A humorous series inviting conversations between Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz centered primarily around New York City.
  • Cobra Kai – Netflix
    Inspired from the earlier flick; Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, continues the storyline 34 years later focusing on the character Johnny Lawrence.
  • Euphoria – HBO
    Jules and Rue continue with their struggles, challenges and accomplishments throughout their High School years.
  • WandaVision – Disney+
    WandaVision takes place three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), and directly sets up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), in which Olsen reprises her role as Maximoff.
  • Clarice – CBS
    Jodie Foster’s character from Silence of the Lambs is revamped in this new mystery thriller. Taking place back in the early 90’s, this series investigates sexual predators and serial murderers centered around the political arena in Washington DC.
  • Hip Hop Uncovered – FX
    A docuseries on hip-hop from the street level. It expresses how this music forum molded street culture and nurtured talent into the music business.
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Disney+
    New Season: Season One will debut on March 19
    Following up on the ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier partner together to defeat the world’s evil players.
  • Loki – Disney+
    Loki, who is once again played by Tom Hiddleston, comes from the brotherhood with Thor into his own series. His mischievous and cunning ways will surely entertain Marvel fans throughout this fresh season.
  • Dave – FX
    A comedy loosely based on rapper/comedian Dave Burd, otherwise known as Lil Dicky, takes a comical look at a neurotic 20-something year old man who is driven to be the best rapper of all time.
  • Pose – FX
    A dance musical that takes place in the 80’s in New York City, and depicts the African-American and Latino LGBTQ drag queen culture. The first season takes place in the 80’s while the second season fast forwards to the 90’s.
  • Succession – HBO
    The family drama continues in the Roy family who is fighting over who will lead the family empire and worry about the health of Logan Roy.
  • Atlanta – Hulu
    A Princeton drop out, Earn’s character struggles with finding his place in the world while attempting to redeem himself in his daughters’ eyes.
  • Hawkeye – Disney+
    Another Marvel take off starring Jeremy Renner and Vera Farmiga, sure to be followed by the Marvel fans.
  • Inventing Anna – Netflix
    Shonda Rhimes brings forth her storyline about New York City socialite circles through a journalists’ eyes.
  • The Underground Railroad – Amazon Prime
    Based around the mid-1800’s underground railroad. The plot revolves around hidden routes, safe houses and the people willing to risk it all to help slaves reach their path to freedom.
  • Lord of the Rings – Amazon Prime
    This production crew just went back to work in New Zealand. Be on the look out for hobbits coming sometime later this year.
  • Bel Air – NBC Peacock
    Will Smith revives his most iconic role from early in his career.
  • Nine Perfect Strangers – Hulu
    Nine Aussies gather at a 10-day retreat to transform their bodies and find solitude together. The retreat is lead by a mysterious Russian.
  • The Dropout – Hulu
    Inspired by the podcast, Amanda Seyfried heads up this cast as Elizabeth Holmes, who is the world’s youngest female self-made millionaire.
  • Dopesick – Hulu
    Michael Keaton stars in an adaptation of Beth Macy’s non-fiction book about the opioid crisis in America.
  • Mare of Easttown – Sky Atlantic and NOW
    Kate Winslet is Mare Sheehan, a detective in small-town Pennsylvania who investigates a murder.
  • The Terror – AMC
    Produced by Ridley Scott, this series focuses on the British Royal Navy in the mid-1800’s. The polar explorer ships take to their next adventure in the frigid icy seas.
  • Your Honor – Showtime
    Bryan Cranston is a judge in New Orleans who overseas a case involving his son who was responsible for a hit and run accident.
  • Murder Among the Mormons – Netflix
    Based on the true character of Mark Hoffman, who was one of the world’s most well-known forgers. A good watch if you enjoyed “Catch Me If You Can” with Leo DiCaprio.
  • Waffles + Mochi – Netflix
    Michelle Obama heads up a kid’s cooking show with all the bells and whistles, including puppets.
  • For All Mankind – Apple TV+
    This is a fictional 90’s glimpse at positioning a never-ending ‘race to space’ between the USSR and US.
  • Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Amazon Prime
    A look back on recent history through the eyes of Adam Curtis.
  • The Investigation – HBO
    Based on the 2017 murder investigation of Kim Wall, otherwise known as the ‘submarine case’ out of Sweden.
  • Trump Takes on the World – Amazon Prime
    A look into President Trump’s foreign policies, including a colorful cast of white house characters.
  • ZeroZeroZero – Amazon Prime
    A thriller that covers all the drug trafficking topics, including running cocaine and corruption to the highest level.
  • The Serpent – Netflix
    A vintage 70’s story that follows hippie styled Charles Sobhraj throughout Thailand.
  • Night Stalker – Netflix
    This series stalks serial killers ravaging the Los Angeles night scene.
  • Call My Agent – Netflix
    This French comedy taking place in Paris. A variety of characters must manuever through the challenges of working in a talent agency.
  • Back – Amazon Prime
    A sitcom about 4 brothers who haven’t been on the best of terms, that must come together after the death of their father to run the family business.
  • A Perfect Planet – Amazon Prime
    David Attenborough leads this picturesque series about the beautiful planet Earth.
  • Mythic Quest – Apple TV+
    A successful video game company struggles to keep their top market position.
  • Sex Education – Apple TV
    A comedic sex comedy centered around teenage life and challenges of hormonal pubescence.
  • Peaky Blinders – Netflix
    A continuation of the Irish gang of hoodlums during the early 1900’s.
  • American Crime Story: Impeachment – Amazon Prime
    Starring Sarah Paulson and Clive Owen as President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, this story relives his term and impeachment trial.
  • Derry Girls – Netflix
    Lisa McGee’s teenage coming-of-age series set in the 90’s continues the laughs around a group of Irish girls and all their fun adventures, big hair included!
  • Cowboy Bebop – Hulu/Netflix/Adult Swim
    A futuristic anime series taking place in the year 2071.
  • McMafia – Amazon Prime
    A British crime drama focused on the son of a Russian mob boss who resides in London.
  • Paper Girls – Amazon Prime
    Four pre-teen newspaper delivery girls stream their story from the suburbs of Cleveland Ohio.
  • This Way Up – Hulu
    A comedy/drama about a young Irish English teacher has a nervous breakdown.
  • Industry – Amazon Prime
    A group of 4 graduates who will do whatever it takes to land a prestigious job in the London banking industry.
  • Time – Amazon Prime/TUBI
    Sean Bean stars in a series about surviving a 4-year prison sentence after an accidental homicide.
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley – Hulu/Amazon Prime
    A take-off of the psychological thriller from the late 90’s.