Another Upfront Market Starts -- Right Now. Where's The Market Intel?

For years, media prognosticators have mourned the coming death of TV's upfront market. Turns out they should have been mourning the death of upfront market information and gossip. 

This year's late-moving upfront market ---which was down dramatically -- had a big effect on those making deals due to a lack of information. In turn Wall Street analysts, the press, and other suffered as well.

Some of this suits media buyers just fine - especially the bigger buyers. Holding information closer to the vest is what media buyers believe everyone should be doing in the first place. Donna Speciale, president of investment and activation and agency operations at MediaVest, says if future upfront markets continue this way, it'll only hurt those smaller media agencies.

But the key news should be what the bigger media players have always observed - it's how the entire year plays out, in terms of upfront revenue and following scatter revenue and pricing changes.



In effect, the upfront part two begins right now, with the start of the fourth quarter almost upon us. With the upfront down across the board in terms of revenue for broadcast, cable, and syndication, all eyes and ears will be on how the networks perform throughout the year, the quarter by quarter scatter periods.

Upfront deal-making has always depended on athe size of CPM increases, the media budget, program mix, and what pricing levels a marketer got previously. But these dynamics are changing. Apparently those TV marketers with long-time TV network deals -- at low rates in key valuable programming -- don't look to be a lock for the future.

Speciale says much of this happened this past upfront: "You can do more specific program buying, and your past buys don't influence current buys in the way they once did," she told Forbes.

 So here's to the new upfront-scatter market -- as well as next year's more traditional upfront in 2010. Get ready for more creative deal-making, as well as more information that you count on -- somewhat less.

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