The Upfront Is Back: Ad Execs Say They're Returning, Will Commit More Than Half Their Total Budgets

The upfront is back. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it appears to be the case that, after languishing last year, the upfront TV advertising marketplace is once again front-and-center with top ad executives who expect to increase their total upfront ad spending, and to commit at least half of all their 2010-11 TV advertising budgets during the advanced TV ad buying season. Those are among the major findings from "Upfront 2010," a special survey conducted among more than 200 top TV media-buying decision makers over the last few weeks by Advertiser Perceptions Inc.

That could be good news for the major television networks, especially cable TV networks, as the ad execs surveyed said they plan to spend more of their upfront TV advertising budgets on cable than on broadcast TV networks. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of clients, and 53% of agency executives said they planned to place a greater share of their upfront advertising budgets on cable vs. broadcast this year.

Share battles aside, the overall finding appears to be good news for all networks, as Madison Avenue is once again keen on the upfront. The finding may be another signal that the advertising recession is waning, as many marketers and agencies had been loath to commit budgets in advance during the height of the recession, a factor that reduced the total volume of the 2009-10 upfront TV advertising marketplace, and led to a bigger short-term scatter marketplace.

While macro economics may be improving, some underlying micro factors are shifting the strategic role of the upfront in the eyes of some ad execs who have begun to reduce their total commitments due to budgets shifting into alternative media options. Among those who said they planned to reduce their total upfront ad spending this year (15%), 69% said they were reducing their broadcast TV upfront budgets, and 29% said they were reducing their cable TV upfront budgets, due to shifts toward "digital" media.

The biggest factors attracting ad executives to this year's upfront include:

* Audience and cost.
* Ratings and programming (for agencies).
* Cost issues and ROI (for marketers).

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1 comment about "The Upfront Is Back: Ad Execs Say They're Returning, Will Commit More Than Half Their Total Budgets".
  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein , April 19, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.

    This smacks of an industry growing tired of waiting for a scalable online stragegy.

    Anybody out there who'd like to talk about a safe, scalable online branding solution? Give me a call at 219-878-1006.