Flip Flopping Over TV Advertising Demand

What a difference a year makes. Or in the case of Donna Speciale’s move from head of video investments at MediaVest to president of ad sales at Turner Entertainment and Young Adult nets, just six months.

During the opening of MEDIA magazine’s annual Outfront conference in New York City this morning, Speciale defended the strength of advertising demand heading into this year’s annual upfront network TV ad marketplace, noting that the scatter market has been relatively healthy, and that the fact that upfront advertisers from last year have not canceled much of their “options” are strong indicators of pent up demand.

“Something has changed,” quipped Mike Rosen, president of activation at her former sister shop Starcom USA.

“Is that exactly where you thought it would be six months ago,” Chris Magel, executive vice president-director of national broadcast at Initiative, piled on.

Rosen went a step further, invoking a TV programming reference, and suggesting it might be time to go to a “Jon Stewart”-like video replay to see what Speciale had been saying six months ago, when she was still on the sales side.

All kidding aside, the quipping pointed out the amount of rhetoric involved on both sides of the negotiating table at this point leading into an upfront marketplace, which is, after all, all about spinning perceptions of market demand.

Initiative’s Magel defended the tepid nature of this year’s upfront, noting that estimates for U.S. GDP growth this year, are about half of what they were last year, and that consequently, Interpublic’s forecasters are projecting that TV ad spending growth might be about half what it was last year.