by. Aislinn Bryan

Upfront week 2024 was a spectacle of star power, innovative ad tech, and bold new content as major networks presented their lineups for the upcoming television season. From NBCUniversal's return to tradition to Amazon's splashy debut, here's a look at the highlights from each presentation.

NBCUniversal: A Vibrant Return to Tradition

NBCUniversal's 2024 upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall marked a vibrant return to traditional upfront events. The company focused on star power, with performances by Jimmy Fallon and appearances from NBC personalities such as Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, and Kelly Clarkson. NBCUniversal emphasized its commitment to storytelling and innovation, highlighting upcoming projects like the highly anticipated "Wicked" and the 2024 Paris Olympics. This blend of entertainment and information showcased NBC's diverse and dynamic content slate.

Fox: Expanding Ad Tech and Tubi's Growth

Fox's 2024 upfront presentation introduced an exciting lineup for the 2024-2025 television season, emphasizing a mix of new series, returning favorites, and extensive sports coverage. Fox highlighted their upgrades to ad tech, particularly the AdRise platform, which now covers "OneFox," their cross-portfolio inventory product. Tubi was positioned as a key growth driver, with plans to increase investment in original content. Fox's strategy ensures advertisers will achieve maximum audience reach and impact across their diverse properties.

Amazon: A Splashy Debut

Amazon made a splash during upfront week with their first-ever presentation to advertisers at Pier 36 in Manhattan. The event featured large installations dedicated to Amazon shows like "Fallout" and "The Summer I Turned Pretty," as well as movies like "Road House" and sports offerings like Thursday Night Football. Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Will Ferrell debuted new projects, and Alicia Keys opened the show with her hit "Empire State of Mind (Part II)." Amazon's ambitious entry into the upfront scene showcased their expansive and diverse content portfolio.

Disney: Star Power and Storytelling

Disney's annual presentation at the Javits Center featured a host of A-listers from film, television, and sports. The presentation opened with an "Abbott Elementary"-themed video, followed by Emma Stone introducing Disney CEO Bob Iger. Iger, making his first upfront appearance since 1994, highlighted Disney's strengths in storytelling, talent, and content. The presentation underscored Disney's ad-tech advancements and featured a shift towards celebrity-driven content, amplifying the company's storytelling prowess.

Warner Bros. Discovery: The WBD Effect

Warner Bros. Discovery presented at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the one-year anniversary of Max. The presentation highlighted the power of Warner Bros. movies like "Barbie" and their dominant unscripted content on cable. Chief U.S. Advertising Sales Officer Jon Steinlauf introduced the phrase "The WBD Effect," emphasizing how their stories transcend screens to drive culture. This celebration of their diverse content portfolio reinforced Warner Bros. Discovery's cultural impact.

YouTube: Massive Reach and Engagement

For the third consecutive year, YouTube took the stage during upfront week, boasting about their massive reach and engagement relative to traditional TV. They highlighted that billions of viewers watch over a billion hours of content on TV screens daily. The presentation concluded with a performance by Billie Eilish, singing "What Was I Made For" from the "Barbie" movie. YouTube's focus on their unparalleled viewer engagement showcased their dominance in the digital content space.

Netflix: Immersive Content Experience

Netflix hosted a two-day event that combined a presentation with an immersive experience for advertisers. The company showcased a vast array of content, emphasizing their continued investment despite competitors pulling back. Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria highlighted Netflix's commitment to delivering diverse and engaging content. The event featured rooms decorated to resemble hit shows like "Bridgerton," "Wednesday," and "Squid Game," complete with games for ad execs to play, offering a hands-on experience of Netflix's rich content offerings.

Paramount Global: Strategic Smaller Meetings

Paramount Global opted for smaller agency meetings over traditional upfront presentations. Amid rumors of a potential sale, advertising president, John Halley, assured that the uncertainty hasn't impeded their goals. He emphasized that any significant changes would occur over an extended period, beyond the current planning phase. This approach allowed for more focused and strategic discussions with advertisers.

Conclusion

Upfront week 2024 was a dynamic showcase of innovation, star power, and strategic planning. Each network brought its unique strengths to the forefront, promising an exciting television season ahead. From NBCUniversal's return to tradition to Amazon's bold debut, the future of TV and streaming looks brighter than ever.