Kevin KrimMay 16, 20235 min read

Dispatches from the Upfronts – Day 3, a Finale

The third and final day of this year’s TV Upfronts rounded out the remaining networks’ big presentations to advertisers—mixing legacy leaders Warner Brothers Discovery with Upfronts newcomers YouTube and Netflix. Wednesday proved to be a major day for EDO, bookended by more than a few big bangs and didn’t let up.

While we were in the room at all major events today, our team was particularly proud that our TV outcomes data was presented on-stage—first with Warner Brothers Discovery touting EDO’s TV outcomes intelligence, and again with Netflix announcing their partnership with EDO to deliver streaming outcomes measurement.

For EDO and our industry, these announcements demonstrate how we’re bridging the future with both traditional titans like WBD and innovators like Netflix. And while our co-founder was talking to engaged rooms at ad agencies all over the city, lots more was happening in special rooms around NYC. So let’s get streaming…

Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) was in full effect

The WBD team ran a tight, fast-paced presentation that was “clean, modern, and easy to look at—like Anderson Cooper,” according to CNN Chief Chris Licht. From each sizzle reel to every segment – WBD’s content offering was staggering, featuring premium titles across Max, WBD Sports, CNN, DC Comics, HBO, Adult Swim, Discovery Networks, and more. And with May 23’s impending Max launch, WBD made their case as the best consumer value in streaming: boasting the most Oscar + Emmy winners and highest average streaming series ratings—including the latest WB + DC films, ALL of HBO’s hit series, and the full Discovery+ catalog. 

For WBD, premium entertainment—scripted and unscripted—was the name of the game. We were blown away by the live sports offerings and big-name originals from Conan, RDJ, Ellen, LeBron, Selena Gomez, Michael Bay, Octavia Spencer, Jason Momoa, and even Guy Fieri. Because aren’t we always ready for a trip to Flavortown? And Discovery proved its consumer relationships in the kitchen, in the wild, or during a home renovation. 

In fact, EDO data proves just how engaging WBD networks are: In 2022, WBD had four of the top ten most effective primetime cable networks at driving viewer engagement with TLC, TNT, HGTV, and NBA TV. 2023 March Madness was 40% more effective at driving engagement for advertisers than the average primetime broadcast and cable network. And viewers were 49% more engaged with primetime ads during 2022 Shark Week on Discovery Channel than ads on the average primetime broadcast and cable network. 

But despite all the exciting programs and big names, far and away our favorite part was EDO’s mention by Jon Steinlauf, WBD Chief U.S. Advertising Sales Officer. EDO was listed as the only TV Outcomes partner among a select few TV measurement players. According to Steinlauf, “Our viewers pay attention to your ads. Even more importantly they search for your brand online, which gives you better outcomes. EDO tells us that of the top 100 shows driving online searches after an ad, 41 are part of the WBD family. And brands that boast the most searches, boast the greatest market share.” 

For brands—and for EDO—this was the challenge to dream bolder, think bigger, and aim higher. And the day was just getting started…

The Netflix Effect — now, with Advertisers!

Despite pivoting their Upfronts debut to virtual, the team at Netflix brought their swagger with humility, excitement, and appetite for innovation. Their pitch to advertisers was short and sweet: Netflix was ready to build a better future for advertising in streaming—together. With an undeniable cultural impact, Netflix has been able to tap into the zeitgeist while entertaining the world—with the scale and speed that only a truly technology-first company can do.

Before even launching its ad tier, Netflix touted the ability of its content to create an incredible flywheel of enjoyment and engagement from chess sets, Halloween costumes, and eighties songs, to storage units. Because they’re in the business of entertaining the world, with the next great moment waiting for advertisers. 

With plenty of new and returning series, Netflix brought the sizzle: Never Have I Ever, Obliterated, The Witcher, Cobra Kai, Umbrella Academy, Lupin, Black Mirror, The Diplomat, The Lincoln Lawyer, Emily in Paris, Ginny & Georgia, Bridgerton, The Crown, That ’90s Show, Outer Banks, Wednesday, Squid Game, Stranger Things, Fubar, Heart of Stone, and many more that our combined team couldn’t completely capture. And while it was an embarrassment of diverse riches—Netflix revealed that members watch 6 genres a month. And we were also treated to previews of some of Netflix’s next big debuts – including the mind-bending sci-fi “The Three Body Problem” (from the Game of Thrones creators), real-life drama “Griselda” with Sofía Vergara, and WW2 literary drama “All the Light We Cannot See” by Shawn Levy. 

And while usually keeping metrics close to their vest, Netflix Co-CEOs, content, and ad execs alike brought out some staggering stats. Netflix’s ad tier reaches 5 million monthly active users globally – a number that has more than doubled since the beginning of 2023 (and launching late last year). More than a quarter of new subscribers now choose Netflix with ads, and 72% of ad-tier users are 18-49.

Jeremi Gorman, Netflix’s president of global advertising—and even longer-time Netflix superfan—made it clear that they wanted the Netflix advertising experience to “create the same level of delight as our members get from shows and movies”—citing NO latency and lighter ads loads (only 4-5 minutes per hour). For Netflix, it was important to enter advertising by getting “brilliant at the basics”—like targeting and measurement. But from there “we’ll build something better together,” according to Peter Naylor, VP of Global Advertising Sales.

And then our favorite part was Netflix’s announcement of their partnership with EDO—allowing brands to see how their Netflix ads drive an engagement response—outperforming across CTV and linear. While it’s early days, EDO was able to find that viewers were more than 4x as likely to respond to an ad on Netflix compared to other streaming platforms. And not surprisingly, 4.5x compared to linear TV.

Personally, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect close to this year’s Upfront presentations. Streaming is the future and present, here and now, and outcomes are a more important part of advertising’s role at this stage. We’re proud to be partnering with so many media leaders to bring EDO’s predictive outcomes measurement to Convergent TV, and we can’t wait to bring our TV insights and intel to all sides of the table in the weeks and months ahead. Lots more to come, so stay tuned.


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