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A E Networks Cancels Upfront, Opts for Virtual Presentation Amid Growing Coronavirus Fears

Company scraps in-person event that was set for March 23

Amid the growing fears of the spread of the coronavirus, A+E Networks has canceled its upfront event that was scheduled for March 23. Instead, the media company will hold a virtual upfront.

The streaming presentations will begin the week of March 23.

“The health, safety and well-being of our clients, colleagues and our industry is our top priority. A+E Networks is leaning-in to our culture of flexibility – one of the business mandates to operate in today’s world, and certainly a necessity underscored in our current environment,” said A+E Networks group president Paul Buccieri. “It’s important for us to note that the Upfront is just one part of A+E Networks’ 52-week strategy. Whether in person or in the form of a virtual presentation, the Upfront is part of a comprehensive, year-long communications effort between our dedicated sales force and our ad sales customers.”

Upfronts are a critical event on the industry calendar, when top advertisers get to see the upcoming fall television slates ahead of placing large advertising buys. The upfront presentation period, which also counts digital TV services’ so-called newfronts, begins soon, but it kicks into high gear as the New York City weather warms.

A+E Networks becomes the first entertainment media company to scrap its annual event for media buyers in the wake of the spread of the disease, which has now reached more than 110,000 people around the world. Last week, Fox News canceled its own upfront event that was scheduled for March 24. CNN still held its own upfront last Thursday.