Upfront Nerves: Digital Executives On Edge. TV Executives? Calm Before The Storm

Pre-upfront time media executive nerves are on edge.

Senior media agency executives are telling major digital video platforms to get their act together -- figure out a common, easy way to buy some of new 100 digital video program offerings. Also, they should come up a better common measurement plan. Perhaps a currency.

In response, the head of a major digital advertising association, Randall Rothenberg of president/CEO of Interactive Advertising Bureau, is complaining about weak creative digital advertising efforts and those cumbersome silo media buying units.

More importantly, where is the seamless cross-platform media deal? The one one where, if you are watching an episode of NBC's "Parenthood" on TV  you can continue to see an commercial for AT&T on traditional TV, then view the same content and ad on a iPad?

Even WPP Group's CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has his own edgy "personal" view about the current TV currency -- that perhaps TV networks have a point, the viewing metric should go beyond just three days. Group M's senior executives might not exactly agree with this point right now -- not to say they wouldn't disagree that the TV currency shouldn't evolve.

Digital platforms? Media agency executives would love to have an easily defined common currency for digital video publishers. Many digital advertisers --- right or wrong -- don't have easily comparable demographic numbers to analyze like TV's main 18-49 or 25-54 data. Yeah, those age and gender stuff may be lame, and really old-school. But with the upfront starting this week, that is what TV marketers calmly will again be looking at -- right now.

Upfront estimates: around $9.2 billion for TV broadcasting networks, up about 1% at best, or maybe down a bit from a year ago. For cable networks, about $10.1 billion, a gain of a couple of percentage points. What about digital video this upfront? Some are blue-skying a $1 billion number from a possible $3 billion digital video market by year's end.

Nervous? Don't worry. Mosey on over to the sushi table at one of the TV network upfront parties, and have a micro-brew to wash it down. Then think about the new Sean Hayes comedy on NBC or the new "Lost"-like drama from J.J. Abrams on Fox.

Calming, isn't it? For the moment, anyway. Go back to office, get to work -- and hopefully keep you nerves in check.



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