The Walt Disney Company will host its combined upfront presentation virtually on May 18th. This event is one of three planned for the coming months in which Disney will set the stage for its coming year of television content, both on traditional networks and streaming platforms. The upfront presentation will reveal what's coming from ABC, ABC News, Disney Channels Worldwide, Disney Digital, ESPN Networks, ESPN+, Freeform, FX Networks, Hulu, and National Geographic Networks. The upfront will follow the Disney Platform Tech Showcase on February 23rd and Disney Platform Content Development event on March 23rd. Disney already previewed upcoming Marvel, Star Wars, and other franchise content during its Investor Day event in December.
Disney's president of advertising sales and partnerships, Rita Ferro, spoke to Adweek about its approach to this year's upfronts. "There's always been this notion of, Disney's a great storytelling company, but our technology and our capabilities and technology and data rival any of our competitors in this space. So we want to make sure we get that story out, before we start talking about all the great content coming... We are going to put all of our eggs into this one presentation and speak to the Disney platform across all platforms and screens and experiences."
WarnerMedia will also rejoin upfronts week with a presentation on the morning of May 19th. The event may offer a glimpse at the upcoming ad-supported tier of HBO Max, set to launch later in 2021.
ViacomCBS is also returning to upfronts week with a virtual presentation that afternoon. That will be about two months after the company's streaming service rebrands as Paramount+ on March 4th. ViacomCBS's May 19th afternoon event -- like Disney's the day before -- will be a singular experience presenting upcoming content across the company's platforms, including the CBS Broadcasting Network, Paramount+ streaming service, and cable networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, and Comedy Central.
This year looks to be a return to form for upfronts week. The annual advertising event scrambled last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic's early weeks, with presenters hosting hastily assembled virtual presentations. This return to traditionally scheduled programming marks a return to some semblance of normalcy from the television advertising industry.
Are you excited about this year's television upfronts week virtual events? What do you expect to see from Disney, WarnerMedia, and ViacomCBS during their events? Let us know in the comments section.