Disney Showcases its Global Reach and Enviable Blend of Innovation and Storytelling at 2024 Upfront

At today’s Upfront presentation, The Walt Disney Company showcased its world class brands driven by powerful storytelling and culture-defining franchises. The event featured over 150 of the biggest and brightest stars, and leaned into the company’s unique ability to inspire nostalgia across generations, connecting consumers around the world.

Rita Ferro, President of Global Advertising Sales, highlighted how Disney delivers for advertisers with its revolutionary and innovative approach to technology, and how it delivers for fans by harnessing the power of the Disney ecosystem to provide an unparalleled experience across all platforms.

Introduced by two-time Oscar winner Emma Stone, the presentation began with the Walt Disney Company’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger who, three decades after his last Upfront appearance, spoke on the ever-growing power of Disney: “Disney is the embodiment of creative excellence, of great and bold storytelling, of quality, and innovation.”

Welcomed by a special animated clip of Family Guy, Ferro jumped from the screen to the stage to accentuate Disney’s unmatched reach and impact. “One in two people connect with Disney around the world every single day.”

Featuring A-list talent and creatives from its award-winning content across ABC, ABC News, Disney+, Disney Television Studios, ESPN, FX, Hulu, National Geographic, Onyx Collective, Walt Disney Studios, and more, the global entertainment powerhouse previewed upcoming programming in the main presentation hall, taking over 350 feet of linear LED tiles and four cosmic hero screens in front of nearly 4,000 guests.

Key takeaways from the stage:

Emma Stone: “Today, I think we’re incredibly fortunate to have a captain like Bob Iger at the helm of Walt’s studio, navigating the company through a changing landscape of innovation and technology, while ensuring that the magical essence of imagination and storytelling are at the heart of everything.”

Stephen A. Smith: “Across digital, linear, social, streaming… ESPN is dominating. We’re the most followed brand — not just sports brand — but brand on TikTok. What other 45-year-old brand can say that?”

Ellen Pompeo: “Streaming libraries allow fans to discover and rediscover the most beloved films and TV shows. And Disney+ is home to the strongest catalogue in streaming.” 

Desmond Howard: “We’re making it possible to watch the expanded College Football Playoff games in dozens of different ways. This multi-platform approach for last year’s national championship brought in 25 million viewers. We’ve got all your bowl action covered.”

Chiney Ogwumike: “ESPN’s regular season audience grew nearly 40% with fans watching more than 2.6 billion total minutes of non-stop action this season.”

Angela Bassett: “Women both in front of and behind the camera are an extraordinary force, and the women at home watching our shows make up over half of Hulu’s audience.”

Michelle Williams: “Great shows don’t happen by accident. They must be nurtured in environments where creative people are given the freedom and resources to do their best work.”

Kerry Washington: “Disney connects us all every day… from our living rooms to movie theaters, to theme parks to sports arenas, from early good mornings all the way to late night.”

And in a special moment, premiere dates were also announced for the eagerly awaited Marvel Studios’ series, Agatha All Along and Daredevil: Born Again. Sharing the news on-stage were members of the star-studded casts, including Kathryn Hahn, Patti LuPone, Joe Locke, Charlie Cox, and Vincent D’Onofrio. The witchy, mysterious series, featuring Hahn, will debut on September 18 with two episodes on Disney+ and Daredevil: Born Again comes to Disney+ in March 2025. Marvel fans were also surprised with an exclusive first look at Ironheart, featuring Dominique Thorne and Anthony Ramos, set to arrive on Disney+ next year.

The presentation ended with a fiery roast from Jimmy Kimmel, a staple of Disney’s Upfront: “Remember when Netflix thought they were above all this? They came in — destroyed commercial television — and now — guess what they want to sell you? Commercials on television.”