SANTA MONICA, CA – Economic uncertainty has led some advertisers to tighten their belts and find ways to get the most out of their media dollars. While there are differences among a variety of industries, marketers also are looking for greater flexibility.

“Right now, it is a soft marketplace. There’s a bit of a conservativeness, I would say, in terms of ad spend,” Maureen Bosetti, chief investment officer at Interpublic Group’s Initiative, said in this interview with Beet.TV contributor Rob Williams at the Beet Retreat Santa Monica.

“Certain categories that are pulling back on spend, maybe like insurance, retail, tech, some of those big categories, [have] kept the marketplace somewhat soft,” she said. “On the flip side though, we do have strong categories like pharma. Auto has increased, obviously, given where they’ve been in the last few years.”

US TV and CTV Ad Spending

While the automotive industry has worked to recover from the depths of the pandemic, which magnified shortages of parts and disrupted factory output, the health crisis dramatized the desire among advertisers to be as flexible as possible in the media plans.

“Clients want more flexibility, which means they’re holding on to dollars longer, making sure that they’re not over-committing,” Bosettia said, “and that they can keep their dollars fluid in case in the event that some of that money has to get cut and returned back to the bottom line.”

The conservative approach is likely to affect the upfront sales season for linear television, whose audience has eroded as households spend more time with streaming video. Cord-cutting has persisted as consumers connect their televisions directly to the internet instead of subscribing to cable or satellite service.

“A lot of that money is shifting to CTV or other digital video platforms, but not all of it’s going to go into the upfront,” Bosetti said. “Again, people want more flexibility, which means we’ll still certainly invest in the upfront market, but more of it may go into wanting to be more of a short-term buying model or the scatter market.”

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