Now that the clouds over the media industry are parting as COVID-19 lockdown constraints ease, industry watchers are trying to forecast the chances of an uptick.

For The Weather Group, the near future is about a steady bounce-back fueled by recovery, SVoD and a culture change.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Barbara Bekkedahl, president of ad sales at The Weather Group, explains the message she is taking into this year’s upfront TV ad sales season.

‘Scramble for inventory’

“The pandemic is not officially over but, from the consumer marketplace, things are picking up tremendous steam, and that has really radically changed the marketplace dynamics from last year,” Bekkedahl says.

“Additionally, as everyone knows, there’s been a decline in traditional media impressions as viewers have migrated their behaviour towards OTT and streaming services and, in many cases, places where there’s no ads, sadly.

“So there’s a nice tailwind for us on the sales side this year as buyers are scrambling to find that premium inventory and those impressions in a shrinking linear marketplace, as well as advertisers shift their dollars over to OTT options.

“So we’re pretty excited to get into it and hopefully we’ll be talking soon with the numbers and negotiating CPMs, et cetera.”

Forecast for TV

EMarketer forecasts that US digital ad spending will increase 25.5% this year, the fastest growth rate since 2018, as the ad market and wider economy continue recovering from the pandemic.

It says TV and out-of-home (OOH) ad spending will increase this year after sharp declines in 2020—but neither medium will reach its previous peak again.

That is in contrast with US digital ad spending, which will increase 25.5% this year, the fastest growth rate since 2018, on course to comprise nearly 75% of total US ad spending by 2024.

Digital Ad Spending in the US, 2019-2024 (billions, % change, and % of total media ad spending)

Making the case

But broadcast salespeople like Bekkedahl are making their case for ad dollars, including the new tactics offered by connected and digital TV platforms.

She says transacting via OpenAP, of which The Weather Group is a part, allows it to learn more about benefitting from higher CPMs.

“The upfront season is incredibly important to The Weather Channel,” she explains. “As a basic linear cable network, we really do put forth a good amount of our inventory into the upfront marketplace and it helps us to really set our plans for the year based upon the commitments and advertiser mix that we have in place as a result of the upfront.

“This year, we’re really, really putting forth the ownership of our company, which is Byron Allen. He is a black media owner, and he’s been really vocal in the marketplace about the necessity to include and be inclusive of black-owned media. So we’re working side by side with Byron, his entire portfolio, of which The Weather Channel is one of the larger properties within the portfolio.”

You are watching “A Marketplace Transformed: The TV Ad Industry Powered by Automation,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Matrix. For more videos, please visit this page.