Byron Allen Takes Upfront Stage To Tout Investment In Streaming Service Local Now, Deep Bench Of Daytime Court Shows, Expansion Of Black Multiplatform Network TheGrio & More

While CEOs often make cameos on the upfront stage in a bid to bolster the pitch to ad buyers, Byron Allen went a step beyond Wednesday by serving as emcee for his company’s lunchtime presentation.

Allen Media Group, which owns the Weather Channel, streaming service Local Now, multiplatform network TheGrio and local TV stations, hosted advertisers at a restaurant across from Radio City Music Hall. Allen, who got his start in stand-up comedy, offered frequently unfiltered commentary throughout the event.

Measurement, a familiar topic during upfront season, was one of Allen’s first targets. He derided Nielsen’s methods of counting viewers as “fraudulent,” noting he is in litigation against the company. Like many other ad sellers, AMG is pursuing complements to Nielsen and said it had reached a deal with VideoAmp for additional viewership insights.

Related Story

Roku Matches Wall Street Forecasts For Quarterly Losses, Beats Revenue Expectations; Advertising Challenges To Continue In Q2

TheGrio, which began as a digital brand but has expanded to more than 50 million U.S. households via pay-TV and more on over-the-air broadcast and streaming, was also a key part of the event. Its reach is wider than any other Black-owned network, Allen said, describing it as “the Black CBS,” with education and Black history also close to its core. Gesturing toward the headquarters of Fox News three blocks away from the venue, he said, “We’re in a country right now where there are folks, down the street, who may be trying to divide us. … This effort is needed now more than ever.”

Local Now, a free service launched after AMG acquired the TV operations of the Weather Channel, now has a range of programming across FAST channels and on-demand streaming. It leverages some of the technology of the Weather Channel, which was an early leader in localized programming, delivering geo-targeted weather forecasts. Allen said he has invested $120 million in “repositioning” Local Now, including opting to drop its subscription fee. “‘Free’ is America’s favorite word,” he explained.

Unlike most upfronts, the AMG event did not involve slate announcements or detailed programming updates, though talent joined Allen onstage. In one segment, three judges who host syndicated courtroom shows, made appearances to plug the company’s growing legal bench. Allen said nine of the 11 court shows in production for the fall belong to his company’s syndication stable. “This is an important space,” Allen said, because “legal is a billion-dollar ad category. ‘Did you slip and fall? Were you exposed to asbestos?’”

Allen also took a dig at WarnerMedia, the parent of Warner Bros Television that merged with Discovery in 2022. Under its various corporate iterations over the past couple of years, hundreds of execs have left as the new entity has marched toward a goal of $4.5 billion in cost savings. The company has been “the gift that keeps on giving,” Allen gloated, noting that he has scooped up multiple Warner shows as well as several senior execs. It has been “one of the greatest gifts ever,” Allen said. “Thank you, WarnerMedia, for those unbelievable executives.”

Three judges with shows at AMG — Eboni K. Williams, Marilyn Milian and Greg Mathis — all took bows. Allen noted he had signed Mathis after Warner Bros canceled his show after 24 years on the air. Milian also added a jab of her own, saying Warner Bros “blew it” by dropping The People’s Court, which she hosted for 22 years. Allen’s company, by contrast, “is one of the few entities that understand daytime eyeballs,” she said.

Must Read Stories

Disney Sues Gov. Ron DeSantis Over Disney World “Retaliation” & Free Speech

James McAvoy Leads Action Thriller ‘Control’ For Director Robert Schwentke

Disney’s 20th Digital Studio Folding, D23 Cuts, Streaming Product Chief Out, More

‘Late Late Show’ Host Prepares To Leave Late-Night With A Bang On Thursday

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article