YouTube Shifts Brandcast Upfront Week Event to Wednesday

After last year's Tuesday presentation, it will now follow Netflix a day later

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YouTube is making some changes in its return to upfront week.

On Wednesday, the company exclusively shared a blog post with Adweek from Marie Gulin-Merle, global vp of ads marketing at Google, announcing that YouTube’s 2023 Brandcast event would once again take place during upfront week, but things are going to shift back a day.

YouTube’s 2023 event will take place on Wednesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, with a reception to follow. It’s a slight change from YouTube’s 2022 schedule, which saw the company hosting its event on Tuesday during upfront week at New York’s Imperial Theatre.

“We’re excited to be together again at this year’s upfronts, the annual marketplace for digital video and TV ad sales, to show adveisers why creator-driven platforms are winning the streaming wars,” Gulin-Merle wrote in the post, which also touts NFL Sunday Ticket, a package the company nabbed in December, ending DirecTV’s three-decade run.

With the news, YouTube now shares the Wednesday evening timeslot with Netflix, which recently told Adweek it would hold its first-ever upfront event on May 17 at 5 p.m. at the Paris Theater. Netflix is also hosting a reception after its event.

Prior to the 2023 upfront, Paramount traditionally held the Wednesday afternoon spot for its presentation at Carnegie Hall. However, the company announced in December that it opted to skip upfront week presentations, instead looking to host smaller, impactful gatherings with its clients and partners.

Netflix briefly held the evening to itself until YouTube’s announcement.

YouTube initially moved Brandcast to upfront week in 2022. It was the company’s first in-person Brandcast since 2019.

Announcing the change in a blog post at the time, Debbie Weinstein, vp of YouTube and its video global solutions, wrote “today, streaming and TV are one and the same. And YouTube can help advertisers reach more of their audiences on the big screen,” noting that the platform accounted for more than 50% of ad-supported streaming watch time on connected TVs among those 18 and up.

Before the change, the company typically held Brandcast during IAB NewFronts. As a founding NewFronts member, YouTube still maintained a presence at the 2022 event; however, it was more scaled down than in previous years.

The company explained in its latest blog post that it will continue to maintain a presence at NewFronts “to help brands and agencies reach consumers in a multiformat world.” The event will take place Monday, May 1, at 9:30 a.m.

Upfront continues to get crowded

Like this year with Netflix, YouTube also had a bit of a scheduling conflict in 2022, holding its event on Tuesday evening during upfront week, a slot Disney traditionally occupies.

Though Disney’s event started earlier in the day than YouTube’s, the House of Mouse’s 2022 presentation lasted several hours and included an after-party, leaving marketers with some complicated scheduling decisions as the evening wore on.

Talking about the scheduling at the time, a YouTube spokesperson told Adweek, “We did not want to schedule Brandcast at the same time as any other upfront presentation, and worked to accommodate our schedule accordingly.”

YouTube’s change of venue and move to Wednesday are just the latest shakeups for the 2023 upfront week. In addition to Paramount’s exit and Netflix swooping in to occupy the company’s vacated slot, CW owner Nexstar hasn’t confirmed whether or not the network will maintain its usual Thursday morning spot.

Nexstar told Adweek on Tuesday that it hadn’t made a decision on whether or not The CW would return.

However, despite the changes, there is still some stability in the upfront week lineup: As per usual, NBCUniversal will kick off upfront week with its presentation on Monday, May 15, at Radio City Music Hall.

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