Disney to Show Off New Assets FX, Nat Geo at Combined Upfront

The newly acquired networks, part of the 21st Century Fox sale, will take their places alongside ABC, ESPN and Freeform.
Courtesy of Pawel Kaminski/ABC

Disney just got bigger, and it's going to showcase that increased scale at May's upfronts.

The company says newly acquired FX Networks and National Geographic Networks will be part of a combined presentation to advertisers on May 14 that will also include ABC, ESPN and Freeform. FX and Nat Geo were part of Disney's $71.3 billion deal with 21st Century Fox in which the latter sold off many of its entertainment assets.

"We're thrilled to host our first ever combined upfront presentation for the 2019-20 season," said Rita Ferro, president advertising sales at Disney. "We have some of the most iconic and inspirational storytelling in the industry and best-in-class brands. The combination of our great content, audiences, insights and creativity amplifies the partnerships and offerings we're able to deliver to clients. We're looking forward to a great event and a great season."

The all-in approach will highlight Disney's combined reach across broadcast, cable and digital at a time where individual outlets are suffering from audience erosion. (NBCUniversal has done something similar in recent years, touting the combined strength of its cable properties and the NBC broadcast network.) Disney took a step in that direction in 2018 with an ABC-Freeform presentation.

The combined presentation also means ESPN will not hold its own event for advertisers, which has typically taken place a few hours before ABC's. Subsuming the sports giant into a company-wide presentation takes away some of its spotlight, but that also likely means less focus on a shrinking subscriber base.

The expanded presentation will still make time for the annual tradition of Jimmy Kimmel's comedy routine in which he roasts his employers. Kimmel is confirmed to attend the 2019 upfront.