After Buying Fox, Disney Sets Its First Combined Upfront for May 14

Company will no longer participate in this year's NewFronts

After combing ABC and Freeform's upfront last year, Disney ad sales chief Rita Ferro has even bigger plans for 2019. Getty Images
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One week after completing its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox, Disney has set plans for its first combined upfront event featuring its expanded portfolio—and also reversed course on its previously announced plans to participate in this year’s NewFronts.

On Tuesday, May 14, Disney will host its upfront presentation, featuring ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.

“We’re thrilled to host our first-ever combined upfront presentation for the 2019-20 season. We have some of the most iconic and inspirational storytelling in the industry and best-in-class brands,” said Rita Ferro, president of Disney ad sales, in a statement. “The combination of our great content, audiences, insights and creativity amplifies the partnerships and offerings we’re able to deliver to clients. We’re looking forward to a great event and a great season.”

As part of its upfront strategy, Disney will no longer be participating in this year’s NewFronts. The IAB’s initial lineup, announced last month, had included a slot for Disney Advertising Sales on Tuesday morning, April 30.

This isn’t the first time that the Disney-Fox close—and uncertainty around its timing—changed this year’s upfront plans. FX opted to skip its annual bowling party, which has been an upfront staple for a decade, because it was unsure exactly when the merger would be finalized.

It’s also not unusual for last-minute changes to the NewFronts schedule. Last year, Jukin Media dropped out a couple of weeks before it was expected to present (it participated in IAB’s NewFronts West instead).

Others still scheduled to participate in this year’s NewFronts include Digitas, Twitter, Hulu and The New York Times.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.
Publish date: March 28, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT