Buy Us: 'We're Cheaper'

In the current upfront, TVGN, the former TV Guide Network, now co-owned by CBS and Lionsgate, and competing with the older all-entertainment-skewing network E!, has taken a different kind of approach to marketers: more direct and perhaps more honest.

TVGN says simply: “We’re cheaper, we’re safer.”

Nice. Networks this time of year don’t necessarily look to go toe-to-toe with other networks in their usually friendly upfront programming presentations.

But Brad Schwartz, TVGN’s president, entertainment & media, said, "We can do really great things at lower price points…You want to do something like that at E!, you have to spend a lot. We're hungry, we're smaller, we have a much lower price of entry."

Turning to marketers’ “safety” concerns, Schwartz then directly compared “Popsugar Now,” TVGN’s main pop culture show, to E! shows and others.



"It's not TMZ," he said. "It's not snarky, it's not Chelsea, it's not ‘Talk Soup.’ It's a safe environment, and it's a safe place where we can do integrations at a moment's notice."

You can understand, of course, where this was coming from. TVGN, for all intents, is virtually a start-up network with a massive 83-million subscriber base. But it wants to make headway.

That said, you probably won’t see either Fox or NBC slugging it out over, say, the likes of “American Idol” versus “The Voice” in their respective upfront presentations.

Even when networks do compare their valued audiences, better-rated parts of their schedules, or overall marketing savvy, few if any say, “And one more thing: We’re cheaper!”

Broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators always want to preserve the premium high values of their respective shows, even if they are at the bottom of the pile.

Say what you will, a more straightforward upfront approach is probably coming -- as traditional TV ad executives continue to work on holding on to some shiny new TV-video media spin.

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