Companies rely on sports after Hollywood strikes – Business News (Trending Perfect)

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

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The media giants relied on the sport last year when they had to attract advertisers during Upfronts week at a time when the Hollywood strike and the cost of curtailing their content and star power.

This year, as stars once again graced the stage after the strikes ended, the presentations remained more sports-driven than scripted.

The fallout from last year's shutdown means some media companies have fewer series and films to highlight during their presentations. Cost reduction of companies including Disney And Warner Bros. Discovery Didn't help matters.

Live sports have remained a favorite at Upfront meetings, as they still attract the largest audiences and, therefore, the most advertising dollars.

“I suspect [the companies] He benefited in terms of profits during the strike. “I think there was a reluctance to ramp it up because of all the issues with trying to understand how content spending was actually driving revenue,” said Tom Rogers, CEO of Oorbit Gaming and Entertainment and former president of NBC Cable.

He added: “There was this kind of spontaneity, where a certain amount of programming was released for the new season, and it was relatively specific without feeling able to understand how the content leads to profitability.”

He pointed to two major issues for traditional media companies: the decline of traditional television and the increase in fees that companies must pay to broadcast sporting events live.

“If you're going to maintain a low level of content spending, by definition that means you have to cut back on your entertainment programming,” Rogers said.

Light on entertainment

A scene from the third season of Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Source: Netflix

Disney showed off trailers for the upcoming Disney+ series “Agatha All Along” and “Daredevil: Born Again,” but for its cable network FX, it only highlighted the next season of the popular series “The Bear,” which is also streaming on Hulu. The company also announced “Golden Bachelorette,” the next installment of the popular reality series on the ABC broadcast network.

Warner Bros. developed Discovery series like “House of the Dragon” and “And Just Like That” — both HBO series — are front and center.

“A robust content slate — whether sports or entertainment — is just one piece of the puzzle,” said Amy Lever, chief ad sales officer at DIRECTV Advertising. “With the tremendous growth of [ad-supported streaming]“The modern TV experience depends on the content as well as the ads that support it.”

Some movies have played a big role in Upfronts, especially after they were acquired by streaming services like NBCUniversal's Peacock A batch of blockbuster films like “Oppenheimer” recently.

ComcastNBCUniversal is focusing on the upcoming musical “Wicked” and renewing some Peacock original series.

The summer box office season, which runs the first weekend in May despite Labor Day, is expected to shrink by about $800 million this year as the season brings a limited and unstable stream of blockbuster films. This follows a second quarter that lagged nearly 50% behind ticket sales seen during the same period last year.

The film calendar is expected to ramp up 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 arriving in theaters. The 2025 and 2026 calendar is set to have a major boost in titles, including features from major franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Batman and Super Mario Bros. And extension tickets for the third Avatar movie.

Meanwhile, tech giants like Netflix and… Amazon Prime Video, which recently added cheaper, ad-supported tiers to its streaming platforms, has entered Upfronts Week in full force, showcasing not only sports but also upcoming movies and series.

Amazon, which now owns MGM Studios, has noted 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 sequel to Roadhouse, and Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon discussed their film You're Cordially Invited.

Meanwhile, Netflix has announced a sequel to Adam Sandler's “Happy Gilmore,” as well as a slate of other series.

Sports dominance

The Olympic rings placed in front of the Eiffel Tower to celebrate the French capital's win of the right to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

soba pictures | Rocket Lite | Getty Images

The NFL once again dominated the majority of pitching this year.

Supporting sports programs, from the Summer Olympics to the NBA — which attract the largest numbers of television and streaming viewers, and huge amounts of advertising dollars — were also major parts of the presentations.

“We often hear from larger clients that the importance of purchasing up front has diminished outside of securing placements in live sports,” said Mike Dupree, chief revenue officer at Teads, a global premium publishing platform.Access to high-quality content in an on-demand world has reduced the scarcity that has historically driven the prototype. “Live sports appear to be the last bastion, as proven by the renegotiation of rights.”

NBCUniversal devoted much of its presentations to… The upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris. The NFL played a role in all of the presentations, including those for a newcomer to the ad-supported streaming scene, Netflix. It created perhaps the biggest sports buzz during Upfronts Week, when it was announced hours before its show that it had reached a deal to broadcast NFL games on Christmas Day for the next three years.

Amazon offered Thursday Night Football, the second Black Friday game, and Coming Wild Card playoff game in January – the first ever for Prime.

“This year, we've seen media giants rely on big bets like Wicked, the Olympics, and sports stars like Jason Kelce to generate buzz,” said Tim Hurd, vice president of media activation at digital marketing agency Goodway Group. “There has been a lot of excitement around the evolving live sports landscape and leveraging college sports, NFL games and the Olympics as a multi-platform experience.”

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

—Sarah Whitten contributed to this article.

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

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