‘Furiosa’, ‘Superman’ And Other Warner Film Tentpoles Are Pitched To Advertisers At Parent Company’s Upfront

Emboldened by the success of Barbie, the biggest theatrical film of 2023 and also a potent draw in streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery mobilized its film slate in its upfront presentation to advertisers.

Execs pointed to upcoming tentpoles like Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (which was nearing its world premiere in Cannes as WBD execs were pitching advertisers) and DC’s retooled Superman.

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The company was the latest during upfront week to foreground its movie slate. NBCUniversal debuted a 4-minute trailer for Wicked on Monday and the following day Disney and Amazon used film as an opening salvo. A few years ago, the film and TV worlds would never intersect in an advertising setting, but the rise of streaming as well as the increasing presence of ads in streaming has brought them together.

Because the upfronts focus on TV and streaming, the presentation touted WBD’s “Screen to Stream” initiative, which paired brands with Barbie, Wonka and other recent releases.

Global ad sales chief Jon Steinlauf emphasized Screen to Stream as well as a number of other new features for advertisers, among them shoppable content, advanced contextual targeting and interactive targeting.

“Through these innovations, we can align brand messages with relevant on-screen moments and increase the connection between brand awareness and consumer action, as well as create an enjoyable ad experience for our viewers,” Steinlauf said.

The exec added that half of Max’s new subscribers sign up for the ad tier, which averages 3.3 minutes per hour of ads.

After Steinlauf spoke, Dana Nussbaum, EVP of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures, and Sheereen Russell, EVP, Client Partnerships and Inclusion Solutions, took the stage.

“We understand the pressure you’re under,” Russell told advertisers. “What we also know is the audiences will always show up for great content.

Features like Blue Beetle and The Color Purple have been backed by sponsors like Starbucks and Target, including for their streaming runs.

“We hope you’ll all come along for the ride,” Russell said.

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