Few Marketers Registering Budgets Yet With Networks
"Nobody's even at step one yet," said one prominent buyer.
With agencies still finalizing budgets, networks have yet to show their cards regarding the types of CPM increases they may seek. "Nowhere near that," said another buyer.
Besides shoring up budgets, buyers cited the ongoing standoff over how to attach a value to DVR viewing, and a general belief that the market won't reach a fever pitch, forcing them to make deals on an accelerated timetable.
"There's no reason to rush in from a marketplace standpoint," the prominent buyer said. "It's not like anybody's worried about not getting their money down. There's no pressure."
In fact, with speculation that networks will pursue volume--i.e., attempt to generate as many dollars as possible--rather than push for CPM increases, buyers may feel emboldened to hold off, believing that inventory will be available for some time.
Buyers may also be moving slowly as they try to decide how much money to pull out of the upfront and hold back for new-media opportunities (such as online or mobile advertising) that may emerge over the next year. "To not hold any money out to test some of these things just doesn't seem wise," said one buyer.
Network representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One buyer described the DVR issue as "a big hurdle." Networks would like to receive some compensation for added ratings generated by DVR viewing. But buyers, in general, only want to pay for "live" ratings, operating under the belief that DVR viewers are rabid commercial-skippers.
"They're worth nothing," said one buyer about DVR-infused ratings. "The data shows us that those people that are DVR-ing programs--they're not watching commercials."