Hollywood news banter: Trouble in TV advertising, ‘Hamilton’ to Disney+

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This would usually be the time of year when the big broadcast networks gather in New York City for the upfronts. They’d pitch their shows to companies who would then spend billions of dollars buying TV advertising. There would be plenty of partying too. Needless to say, that’s not happening this year because of coronavirus. 

With the fall TV season unknown because of stopped productions and uncertainty about the NFL, it’s predicted that ad sales will be down one-third at this year’s virtual upfronts.  

This could be brutal for broadcast television, which relies on selling commercial time to make money. Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal reports that GM, PepsiCo, General Mills and other companies rushed to meet a May 1 deadline, allowing them to back out of previously made ad commitments for later this year. The result could be a potential loss of up to $1.5 billion in ad revenue. 

On the streaming side of things, Disney has decided that rather than debut a filmed production of “Hamilton” in theaters in October 2021, they’re going to put it on Disney+ this July. 

Disney spent $75 million to acquire this version of the broadway hit, which features the original cast, including creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the title role. That may seem like a lot to gamble on what would probably have been a big hit at the box office, but with theaters still closed or operating at limited capacity, Disney has decided this could be a way to get new subscribers for its streaming service. 




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker