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TV Upfront Season Has Arrived—Here’s What to Expect

TV Upfront Season 2022 Has Arrived—Here’s What to Expect

It’s the holiday season, but probably not the one coming to mind. 

TV upfront season is here and the who’s-who of the media world, including ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal (NBCU), Paramount and Fox, will roll out the red carpet for advertisers.

Their goal? 

Get them to open their wallets. 

Oh, YouTube will be there, too.

Want to jump right into the details? Read our latest Guide to Upfronts 2022

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What to Expect from TV Upfronts in 2022

After a COVID-induced hiatus, major media companies will once again descend upon the bright lights of the Big Apple and take over some of the city’s most iconic locations.

Here’s what to expect:


ViacomCBS will return to Carnegie Hall after it held its past two upfronts virtually. 

Unlike previous years, however, ViacomCBS will include its entire portfolio in its presentation, including Paramount, MTV and Nickelodeon. 


NBCU will host its upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 16. 

Following this event, NBCU will hold its first content and community previews to “illuminate how our content creates communities and give you a new window into the audience insights and data science that inform our content development and creative strategy.”  

However, before either of these events happen, NBCU will kick things off at the end of March with a data-and-measurement-focused event, One22. 


Fox will hold an in-person upfront that includes entertainment programming on the Fox broadcast network, Fox Sports, Fox News as well as its streaming service, Tubi.

In line with the changing times, Fox will shift some attention away from its sports programming, which it’s focused on in the past, to its advertising technology, streaming and entire portfolio.


YouTube has been a part of digital’s version of upfronts, IAB Newsfront, but this is the first time it’ll be front and center the same week as its rivals

This is a clear indication that YouTube is serious about its quest to get advertisers to move their ad dollars away from linear TV.

So, what can you expect from these presentations? 

While these media companies will go out of their way to deliver something unique, it’s hard to imagine them not all centering around a key talking point: advertising in the post-pandemic world. 

The reality is that no advertiser has access to a playbook that includes a page explaining how to advertise in these unprecedented and unpredictable times. Frankly, too much has changed.

As a result, these media companies will pull out all the stops to gain advertisers’ confidence and convince them that their advertising ecosystem, addressable audience and tech stack are superior to their rivals. 

OTT will be at the heart of these conversations, which has officially gone mainstream. 

Last year, the OTT market had a user penetration rate of nearly 41%. 

This popularity has further intensified the battle for OTT supremacy, but not just from a consumer standpoint. 

ViacomCBS, NBCU, Fox and YouTube, all of which have streaming services, are courting advertisers. 

As a result, you can expect each company to spend a good part of their presentations on OTT, their audience and the ad capabilities that brands can use to engage them.

A Peek at Our 2022 Guide to TV Upfronts

Every spring, advertisers look forward to presentations from the biggest media players in the game to understand the current and future state of the advertising industry—and where they should spend their budgets. 

But let’s take it a step further. 

Our upcoming trend report dives deeper into TV advertising to uncover even more insights you can use to make smart ad buying decisions in 2022. 

Inside, you’ll see which brands increased their TV advertising investment last year, which DTC brands are going all-in on TV commercials, who’s spending on OTT and much more.

Here’s a sneak peek: 

Show me the Money

Don’t be fooled by the false narrative that TV advertising is on its way out. 

It’s not. 

In 2021, over 7,000 advertisers, including those from Google, Uber Eats and Arby’s, increased their TV ad spend by 20% or more year-over-year (YoY). 

At the same time, most of them are investing in more than one ad format, indicating that TV is sticking around, but it’s no longer the foundational piece it once was. 

Instead, it’s a supplementary component that rounds out any optimized media plan. 

OTT is Here to Stay

OTT has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that it went mainstream.

We can credit the pandemic for that feat. 

Between March 2020 to February 2021, OTT viewing increased over 35% per month YoY. 

According to MediaRadar data, in 2021, more than 6,000 advertisers appeared on OTT programming, including Target and Geico. 

Even more indicative of the shift to OTT, many of these advertisers increased their spending by 20%.

Video Advertising is on the Rise

If OTT advertising is the new kid on the block, video advertising is the retired couple who’ve lived in the neighborhood for decades.

Video is still on the rise. 

Last year, there were over 27k brands that increased their video ad spending investment by 20% or more, including Disney, Amazon and VRBO. 

Despite video’s already prestigious status, the continued rise further underscores that it’s the undisputed king of digital advertising. 

For more insights on 2022 Upfronts, read our latest Trend Report.