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Media Buying Briefing: Early movers buy upfront at single-digit rate increases as sellers accommodate on ‘options’

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Media Buying Briefing: Early movers buy upfront at single-digit rate increases as sellers accommodate on ‘options’

The $20-billion (give or take a few billion dollars) TV upfront marketplace quietly registered a significant portion of business in the last several days, in an orderly fashion that represents a 180-degree turnaround from last year’s chaotic market. This has largely benefited the media buyers who represent their clients’ money as the price increases have been only half of last year.

Thanks in large part to flexibility from the major sellers (NBC Universal, Disney, Paramount/CBS, Fox and Warner Bros/Discovery) in regards to letting clients cancel or amend their upfront orders closer to when the advertising will actually run (known as “options”), the major holding-company media buying organizations are said to have wrapped (or will wrap this week) most of their deals, agreed several buyers, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of negotiations.

GroupM and Omnicom Media Group are the most active media agencies. Horizon Media is also the largest independent buyer. The market’s early movers secured lower pricing than those who entered negotiations later.

“It helps to be negotiating 365 days of the year,” said Geoffrey Calabrese, chief investment officer for Omnicom Media Group (OMG), who declined to address any specific deals. So when we get to upfront season, we are ready to go. But [media] partners have also been a great help. For .”

flexibility, sellers should be rewarded.

NBCU and Disney are said to be furthest along in completing deals, generally at pricing levels that are in single-digit percentages over last year’s rates, but in cases inching up to 12 percent over ’21 rates. Depending on the buyer, CBS/Paramount and Fox were said to be at differing levels of completion — Fox is looking to secure upfront commitments for Super Bowl LVII in 2023. NBCU and Fox, Paramount, Disney, and Fox all declined to comment, but they did confirm that deals were being made.

Warner Bros/Discovery was only able to come together as an integrated ad sales team in the last two-months. However, it has been hindered by its ambitious pricing goals, which were agreed buyers, and its new status as a single sales organization. One media buyer said that they were very aggressive in requesting the change rate. “They’ve been more realistic since we began negotiating with them. They are now the last major [seller] group to be wrapped up.” A representative from WB/Discovery didn’t respond to a request to comment by the deadline.

One rival network source said that the company hasn’t had time to put together the back-office technology it needs to offer comprehensive cross-platform sales opportunities.

Fox has less advertising inventory than other major sellers, and that, in this market, gives the company less leverage. The buyer stated that Fox’s supply problem is still a concern due to a decrease in ratings. “More limited partners” are still a problem. “They are trying to get a higher rate [in CPM increase], as their supply is less than an NBC which has more than one part.”

For years before streaming became a thing, cancellation-option windows hovered between 60 and 90 days before ads ran. Today, agreed buyers, they fall closer to 45-60 days, and sometimes as little as 30 days. As one buyer explained, when a buyer tells a network at the 45-day mark he or she may be canceling an order but needs another week or two to sort things out, it’s very rare for a seller to just take the cancellation (and loss of revenue) — they’ll give the buyer extra time in hopes of not losing the dollars.

“When you’re thinking about digital or streaming, you can cancel out less than 30 days out before the flight runs,” added OMG’s Calabrese. Consumer companies with supply chain problems or concerns about inflation in general can feel secure in a way that allows for them to be flexible and move on if things get bad

This all stands in stark contrast to the 2021 upfront marketplace, which was the most chaotic in recent memory, as the primary linear network sellers asked for — and secured cost-per-thousand viewer rate increases of between 15-25 percent over the 2020 market, turning away ad dollars from buyers whose clients were almost panicked to lay in TV dollars.

Color by numbers

In a conversation with Madison Alley’s Michael Seidler last week, Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of S4 Capital, spoke out about the market size of digital. He also discussed the almost exclusive focus of Media.Monks (the network of agencies under S4 Capital’s control). Sorrell, the genius behind modern agency holding companies, gave a fascinating breakdown. It was something like this:

  • Digital media adds up to $450 billion of the $750 billion total media marketplace
  • Of that $450 billion, about $350 billion is swallowed by Google, Meta and Amazon
  • Based on those massive numbers, Sorrell predicts 25 percent year-over-year net revenue growth for S4 in 2022 over 2021, following 44 percent growth in 2021, 20 percent growth in 2020 and 40 percent growth in 2019 over 2018.

Takeoff & landing

  • Horizon Media launched Chapter & Verse, its new unit addressing all matters Web3 (metaverse, NFTs, DAOs, crypto, blockchain, etc. Donnie Williams, the evp, chief digital officer and Pedro Rodriguez, the senior vice president of digital marketing, business growth and transformation, will co-direct this new unit. C&V encompasses three prongs: creative connecting & developing, event activation and consulting.
  • Publicis’ Starcom hired Robert Schwartz from Carat to be its new global CMO, reporting to CEO Michael Epstein, who himself joined from Carat last summer. Schwartz will be responsible for Starcom’s brand refresh.
  • Independent agency RP3 tapped Ingrid Vax to be its new head of business development, hiring her from Bullhorn Creative where she had been director of client partnerships.
  • American Advertising Federation named Publicis’ chief digital officer Helen Lin to be its vice chair, working alongside returning chair Tiffany Warren, Sony Music Group’s evp and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Direct quote

“If we wake up to a world where different broadcast networks pick different currencies — it’s not that one or two emerges to be the Nielsen competitor, but if there’s a handful, which I hope is the case … we’re rooting for all of them. If that is the case, how can a marketer, who has to make a TV purchase across four networks, and receive metrics from four currency providers, handle it? It’s almost like a dog following the car. What does it do when it gets to the car?”

— Chris Kelly, CEO of analytics platform Upwave, on the introduction of alternative currencies in the upfront

Speed reading

  • Digiday’s new senior marketing and technology reporter Marty Swant’s first story delves into how crypto companies are using out-of-home billboards to generate interest in the currency.
  • Digiday’s senior news editor Seb Joseph looks at the darkening economic conditions looming over marketing and media, but also the optimism that some still feel about how the second half of 2022 will play out.
  • And in a related story, Digiday marketing editor Kristina Monllos examines how those recessionary fears have marketers looking for more short-term performance as a way of moving forward.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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