After decades of predicting the upfront's deathknell, television's advanced advertising sales season is alive and well, and bigger than ever. Yes, the Big 4 broadcast networks, may be squeezed by an increasing number of cable and digital players, but there is more attention, frenzy and hype in the upfront marketplace than ever before. Will ad budgets follow, or have alternative options gotten to the point that advertisers and media buyers no longer feel pressured and may just sit things out. Or will 2019-20 be upfront business as usual?
With Madison Avenue pushing science, logic and better data targeting, will programmatic trading finally be the undoing of program haggling? Interpublic's Mediabrands predicts -- that with the exception of election years -- TV advertising is now in a permanent recession. Meanwhile, Publicis’ Rishad Tobaccowala predicts as much as 30% of all advertising will disappear by 2024, mainly because consumers will divert their attention to non-ad-supported options like subscription VOD, etc. What do these changes portend for network TV’s annual sales bazaar? Will the upfront remain the last vestige of old school face-to-face -- or martini-to-martini -- human negotiating.
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