Commentary

With Digital Video Part Of Upfront, Things Feel Different

Here they come: the network presentations. Every year, the third week of May marks the start of the major broadcast networks' upfronts in New York City.  The big boys in the network world rent out huge venues, trot out the stars of their new shows, and party to celebrate the fact that TV viewership is near an all time high, which means CPMs will be as well. 

Various cable networks have already been doing their presentations for the past few weeks. When the networks present in a few weeks, it will be in full swing.

One thing, however, is different this year. The networks realize that digital video should be a part of the discussion, and they're beginning to strategize on how they can aggregate their assets to compete with the relative strangers that are sitting alongside them at the negotiating table with the agencies.

Digital video networks are entering the fray in a bigger way this year. Agencies are designating point people, and rates and investments are being discussed a la TV. Heck, even billboards and added value are beginning to be talked about.

It's the latest sign and the continuation of the maturation of the video business as a whole. The lines are continuing to be blurred between TV and digital video. On the other side of the desk, the silos within the agencies are being torn down. It's exactly what we talked about a few years ago, when we would talk about "video." Not TV. Not online video. Just video.

Yup, it's definitely different this year. 

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