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Netflix is making a major change to its inaugural advertising upfront, pivoting the event from an in-person presentation to a streaming-only affair.
Amid the ongoing writers strike, the megastreamer said that it is canceling the in-person presentation that has been slated to be held at New York’s Paris Theater on May 17. The presentation, which was scheduled for 5 p.m., was to be followed by a reception for guests.
Instead, the Netflix upfront will be a virtual, streaming-only presentation.
A Netflix source said that the company plans to share an update on the progress of its advertising product, as well as its upcoming programming slate.
The company did not give an explanation for the late decision, though the Writers Guild of America has said that it will have picket lines at many, if not all, of next week’s upfront presentations in New York, including Netflix. Likewise, Netflix’s Los Angeles office has been a popular picketing location for striking writers.
Earlier on Wednesday Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos canceled an appearance at the planned May 18 PEN America Gala, saying in a statement that “given the threat to disrupt this wonderful evening, I thought it was best to pull out so as not to distract from the important work that PEN America does for writers and journalists, as well as the celebration of my friend and personal hero Lorne Michaels.”
It is not immediately clear if other planned upfronts will make similarly major moves. A high-level source at another entertainment company said that they still planned to hold their event, though likely without many scripted talent in attendance.
Netflix only introduced its ad-supported tier late last year. AdWeek first reported the move from in-person to virtual.
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