Disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, advertisers canceled 15% to 25% of the third-quarter advertising time bought during the 2019-20 upfront, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Ad sales executives said the cancellations were “not as bad as expected,” after the networks saw ad revenue declines of from 30% to 59% in April, according to Standard Media Index.
Advertisers ordered $21.9 million worth of television ads during the 2019 upfront. The networks sell a full year’s worth of commercials “upfront” and guarantee they will deliver a certain number of viewers. As part of the deal, the advertisers are given an option to cancel as much as 50% of their orders in the third quarter.