Upfronts May Become Extinct
Those glitzy upfront presentations may well soon be a thing of the past, at least if NBC follows through on a threat to end its annual extravaganza at Radio City Hall. Every May for years, the nets have used elaborate performances to help drum up billions of dollars worth of TV ads, but the Peacock Network may be ready to call off a tradition its chief executive Jeff Zucker now terms a "dog and pony show."
Last year, $16 billion worth of ad time was sold during the network upfront, out of a total market of roughly $70 billion. But most of the big deals are now done behind closed doors with increasingly tough-minded media buyers that could care less about dancing celebrities.
And now that ad deals are based on commercial impact rather than just viewer numbers, the jig may finally be up. "From a commercial point of view, [the upfront presentations] are irrelevant," says one media agency director. "Great grandstanding displays are of little relevance to media buyers."