Top Five Things That WON'T Happen This Upfront

It’s that time of year again: when we celebrate TV media. Top media agency execs are huddling with their top clients day and night to plan a years’ worth of media strategy. Weeknights are dotted with presentation, parties and dinners, star-studded with on-air talent, enriched with goody bags, gift cards and giveaways.

This is a time when TV folks talk smack about their competition -- or just ignore them -- and everyone who’s not in the biz tries to find a way to draft off of TV. Everyone, it seems, is #1 in all categories that they compete in. Their competition is never better than #3. Everyone who is not TV is just as good as TV: “TV-quality,” “TV-like” or “TV-synched.”

All too often, rhetoric outstrips reality. Many pundits tell us what will finally happen at this years’ upfront. I’ll go the other way. Here are my top 5 list of things that won’t happen:

1. Buyers will finally walk away from TV. They can’t. No major TV advertisers, from movie studios to fast food to car companies to retail to insurance, can afford to walk away from TV and its unparalleled “sales effects.” Lots will talk. None will walk.

2. TV sellers will finally cave. Demand for TV inventory continues to be a sellers’ market. Demand outstrips supply. That may change some day, but that day isn’t now. Sellers won’t cave because they don’t need to.

3. Advertisers will finally shift their dollars out of TV. Yes, some clients will shift their budget mix, and may shift weight away from TV -- but overall, TV dollars committed in the upfront this year will rise. Bottom line: For every advertiser ready to reduce TV spend, there is a line behind them who want in.

4. The NewFront will finally eclipse the upfront. The NewFront has been a very effective marketing tactic to cause the advertising industry to think about online media in a more strategic way, while at the same time making major strategy and planning decisions about TV spend. It’s great marketing -- but as long as online supply outstrips demand, it’s not a futures market like the upfront.

5. Someone will finally steal the march on CBS’ Leslie Moonves. He led a turnaround that’s legendary, taking a last-place network to first. He keeps picking great shows. He’s been on a ten-plus-year streak. He’s the ultimate showman in a suit-dominated business. His streak won’t end this year.

What do you think won’t happen at this upfront?

Tags: tv, upfront
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2 comments about "Top Five Things That WON'T Happen This Upfront".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , April 24, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.
    Yes.
  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , April 25, 2014 at 3:58 p.m.
    Advertisers also won't learn how to leverage their buys more realistically nor will they gain any real benefit from the way they use various "engagement" metrics to supposedly target more involved audiences. As always, the sellers will rule the marketplace regardless of whether C-3 or C-7 ratings are used as "currency".