Companies rely on sports after Hollywood strikes

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers prepares to play in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs0 in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Michael Reaves | beautiful images

Media giants leaned on sports last year as they had to lure advertisers in the week ahead at a time when Hollywood was on strike and cutting costs on its content and star power. Surname.

This year, while stars once again appeared on stage following the end of the strike, the presentations remained more sports-oriented than scripted shows.

The hangover last year’s work stoppage means some media companies have fewer series and series to highlight in their presentations. Cut down the costs from companies included Disney And Warner Bros. Discovery no help.

Live sport remains the favorite of Upfront meetings as it still attracts the largest audiences and therefore the most advertising dollars.

“I think [the companies] enjoy income benefits during the strike. And I think there’s been some hesitation in ramping up because of all the issues in trying to understand how content spend actually drives profits,” said Tom Rogers, executive chairman of Oorbit Gaming and Entertainment. and former NBC Cable chairman said.

He added: “There used to be this kind of automation where you put out a certain number of shows for the new season and it was relatively formulaic without being able to understand the content that drove the profits like that any”.

He notes two main problems for traditional media companies: the decline of traditional television and the increasing fees companies must pay to broadcast live sports.

“By definition, if you’re going to maintain a reduced level of content spend, that means your entertainment programming has to be scaled back,” Rogers said.

Entertainment lighting

A scene from Marvel’s Daredevil season 3 on Netflix

Source: Netflix

The summer movie box office season, which runs from the first weekend of May until Labor Day, is expected to decline by about $800 million this year due to the season’s limited and inconsistent slate of blockbusters. It followed a second quarter that lagged nearly 50% behind ticket sales seen in the same period last year.

The movie schedule is expected to be more active in the fourth quarter, with major titles like Warner Bros.’ “Joker: Folie a Deux,” Paramount’s “Gladiator II,” Disney Animation’s “Moana 2” and Universal’s “Wicked” are coming to theaters. The 2025 and 2026 calendars are expected to feature a significant increase in the number of titles, including features from major franchises such as Marvel, Star Wars, Batman, Super Mario Bros. and rollover tickets from the third Avatar movie.

Meanwhile, tech giants like Netflix and Amazon Player Video that recently added cheaper, ad-supported tiers for their streaming platform entered The big week was in full swing, showcasing not only sports but also upcoming movies and series.

Amazon, which now owns MGM Studios, has taken note of the renewals and upcoming seasons of original series like “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “The Boys” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Actor Jake Gyllenhaal announced a “Roadhouse” sequel and Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon discussed their film, “You’re Cordially Invitationd.”

Meanwhile, Netflix has announced a sequel to Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, as well as another series.

Sports dominate

The Olympic rings were placed in front of the Eiffel Tower to commemorate the French capital winning the right to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Sopa Images | Missile | beautiful images

The NFL once again dominated at most Upfront presentations this year.

Hit sports programming from the Summer Olympics to the NBA – which attracts the largest TV and streaming audiences as well as huge advertising dollars – are also important parts of the presentations.

“We often hear from top customers that the importance of buying upfront has diminished beyond the guarantee,” said Mike Dupree, chief revenue officer at Teads, a global premium publishing platform. slots in live sports shows”.Access to quality content in an on-demand world has reduced the scarcity that previously drove the prepaid model. Live sport appears to be the last bastion, as evidenced by rights renegotiations.”

NBCUniversal devoted much of its presentation to upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris. The NFL plays an important role in all presentations, including for those new to the ad-supported streaming landscape, Netflix. It generated perhaps the greatest sporting attention during Upfronts week, when it was announced hours before the show that it had been reached. a deal broadcast NFL games on Christmas Day for the next three years.

Amazon introduces Thursday Night Football, its second and first Black Friday game upcoming Wildcard playoff in January — a first for Prime.

“This year, we saw media giants placing big bets,” said Tim Hurd, vice president of media activation at digital marketing agency Goodway Group. like “Wicked,” the Olympics and sports superstars like Jason Kelce to create buzz. “There’s a lot of excitement around the growing live sports landscape and leveraging college sports, NFL games and the Olympics as a cross-platform experience.”

Kelce, who recently retired from the NFL after 13 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, appeared before Disney to announce that he will become a commentator for ESPN starting this season. His appearance made a splash — as he and his brother Travis Kelce often do — when he singled out “Abbott Elementary” star and creator Quinta Brunson during the event.

– Sarah Whitten contributed to this article.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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