For many marketers, that date isn't just a symbol, but a real hope of independence that goes beyond the traditional reliance on the upfront buying and selling dance.
Many reports suggest marketers' budgets are down 20%, and that many are firmly committed to spend more money during the broadcast year rather than the upfront, in the so-called scatter market.
They'll tell you this isn't about abandoning television and heading to distant digital video landscapes. They'll say it's about buying TV in a different way.
There is still plenty of TV time to buy -- even with the ever-increasing splintering of video viewing. The good news is, major TV marketers still want the scalable world of television that digital platforms don't have yet.
Looking at the emerging world of addressable advertising will tell you something more. If one worries about buying a network program this year in the hope of getting just seven million viewers, or buying a cable program with just one million viewers, look at what Starcom's Tracey Scheppach is considering for one of her clients. In one analyst report, she says advertisers have expressed interest in target groups as small as 8,000 homes
What kind of TV buy targets just 8,000 homes? A national TV buy? A local TV buy? Does it matter? A highly motivated, and yes, very targeted group would lure marketers to pay many times the current cost-per-thousand-viewers prices that are charged by network, cable, or syndication programmers.
In a world of thousands, millions of splinters -- rather than big pieces of two-by-fours --- mean there will be a lot more woodwork to do. For this upfront, everyone is looking for self-determination, chisels in hand.