Netflix is backing away from the live-in-New-York showcase it planned to hold for advertisers during the industry’s annual week of “upfront” presentations for advertisers, a move that threatens to put a damper on the company’s first big public attempt to woo advertisers to its service.
The streaming giant is scrapping the event it planned to hold at its own Paris Theater in New York, slated for May 17, and informed advertisers of the switch Wednesday evening. The decision was previously reported by Adweek.
Netflix’ decision takes place amid a massive writers strike that is likely to keep many of the actors, comedians and showrunners who might regularly attend away from the glitzy affairs held by most of the networks each year as part of the upfront, the annual attempt by U.S. media companies to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory attached to their next cycle of programming.
But the decision is also a reflection of the relatively meager offering Netflix has put on the table. Five executives familiar with recent negotiations between the company and advertisers say the ad-supported tier Netflix launched has only 1 million subscribers, leaving the company with fewer overall impressions to sell than many competitors.
Even so, Netflix made a bold effort. Its Wednesday presentation at the Paris Theater would have filled a hole left by Paramount Global, which is abandoning the showcase it has held at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday afternoon for years.
Netflix is vying for dollars with companies that have far more experience in haggling with advertisers and who have a greater amount of programming hours that are consumed live by bigger simultaneous audiences. Even so, with linear audiences in ongoing decline, advertisers are eager to get their messages in front of consumers, particularly those who have migrated to popular streaming vehicles.