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Disney: Addressable elements to inform half of ad sales deals within 5 years

Walt Disney Co. expects addressable advertising solutions will be part of over half of its ad deals as it moves into the next decade.

Speaking at the Advanced Advertising Summit March 25, Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales and partnerships at Disney, said she told the company’s board after last year's upfront season that between 50% and 60% of campaigns are expected to include some form of addressable components over the next five years.

Calling the space "extraordinarily complicated, yet at the same extraordinarily interesting," Ferro said Disney has spent a lot of time working in the advanced arena. Last year, the company introduced its Luminate suite of products that employs first-party data and internal technology, while working with outside companies for programmatic and attribution support, around content on ABC (US), Freeform (US) and ESPN Inc. properties.

Ferro said announcements around new vendor relationships and multitouch attribution models are coming soon. She noted within its linear commercial inventory Disney has created "a digital-like experience," guaranteeing buys based on client and internal data sets.

Given ESPN’s sports portfolio and other live events within Disney entertainment properties, Ferro said there is always going to be "a live component to do business in the traditional sense." However, her team is working on ways to make sure the company is moving quickly within the data and technology realms.

"We keep pushing to disrupt ourselves," she said.

Data and advanced advertising, she said, will play a bigger part of this year's upfront advertising negotiations than in the process for the previous TV season. Disney already has held a few client presentations, with some of the conversations centering around data-driven offerings.

Still, she noted that the upfront is "a peculiar time of year," rooted in the tradition of how the deals get "structured and done." Ferro's expectation is that will remain the primary way business is conducted for schedules ahead of the 2019-20 TV season, with some opportunities for data-driven and advanced-advertising solutions.

Overall, Ferro expressed excitement about this year’s market, which will see Disney adding FX Network (US) and National Geographic Channel (US) to its portfolio via its recently completed acquisition of myriad 21st Century Fox Inc. assets. She said that supply is down and TV scatter pricing has remained strong.

"It's still super early and things can change quickly," said Ferro, who overall believes "it will be a seller's market."