If you missed this year's upfront presentations—the annual events where linear TV networks trot out their upcoming programming for potential advertisers—here are some key takeaways from the events that wrapped up this week.
The upfront market will be slightly down
This year, several sources say they expect the upfront broadcast and cable ad inventory buying markets—which lasts between when the network presentations occur through about July 4—to be about 1 percent to 2 percent lower than last year.
Despite the downturn, it's slightly good news. Last season, media analytics firm Media Dynamics had pegged the ad buyer commitment to the 2014-15 season at $18.1 billion, a 6 percent to 7 percent decline from the previous season.
Another positive? Jesse Redness, co-founder of media strategy firm Brave Ventures, believes that many advertisers may be saving their money for the scatter market, which is the time after July 4 when remnant ad inventory is sold. Because several networks unveiled new cross-screen targeting initiatives using big data, he said many media buyers may be waiting to see how well these programs work before committing dollars.
Networks are harnessing the power of big data
Speaking of big data, many networks reaffirmed their commitment to evolving to fit the digital space by offering new advertising options that allow brands to target consumers on different devices using the data that they and their partners glean through various platforms. Marketers who were concerned that too many eyeballs were shifting away from watching live linear broadcast programming can now fine-tune their buys to target the right mix of a network's consumers, no matter on what screen they are watching.
For example, Turner Broadcasting's Turner Data Cloud is the media company's new data management platform that will let marketers launch their digital and linear campaigns across the entire family of Turner networks through direct or technology-led programmatic means.
Meanwhile, NBC Universal touted its partnership with Comcast, saying it would allow advertisers to access information on consumers derived through the cable provider's set-top boxes. The data will help supplement NBCU's audience targeting platform, a program announced in January 2015 that leverages first and third-party data to help brands reach the demographics they desire on the media conglomerate's properties. NBCUniversal is the parent of CNBC.
ESPN also announced that it would be working with Cablevision to use the cable company's census-level audience insights for further understanding into consumer behavior to inform more accurate cross-screen targeting.