When Do We Need To Revise The 'Up' Part Of The Word Upfront?

Too early to starting talking upfront? 

In the next few weeks, you can be sure media analysts will have intense questions about the 2015 TV marketplace, including the upfront, the annual June-August period when major media buying agencies will collectively plunk down around $18 billion – or maybe less.

Uncomfortable moments followed some TV advertising estimates that all kind of TV advertising activity were down 1.5% fourth quarter. Was this “delayed” spending? Was it because of a shift to digital? Was it from the deflating TV economy?

The real results are coming, with a slew of fourth-quarter financial results from major media players set to arrive over the next several weeks. Media stocks have already been reflecting lower numbers.

We know this: A soft-ish TV upfront this past summer was followed by a soft-ish fourth quarter 2014, and now first quarter scatter TV market period. That doesn’t happen much -- if ever. Is the marketplace really changing?



Many are worried about less supply, with  7% fewer 18-49 gross rating points, for example, among national broadcast TV and cable TV networks.

We continue to hear from media agency buying executives that advertisers are continuing to place media schedules ever closer to airtime. TV executives are clinging to the hope that’s the key reason for the extended softness in the marketplace.

Network executives will continue to complain that not all viewing is being accounted for -- either through traditional time-shifting of their programing or via growing digital platforms, especially those mobile digital platforms.

These executives continue to announce new ad initiatives,  looking to make adjustments to give marketers what they are asking for: programmatic buying options; buying audiences, not programs; finding ways of accounting for out-of-home viewership as well as digital viewing;  confirming better media ROI details.

It’s late January, with only four months to go till crunch time. Better start mumbling now.

1 comment about "When Do We Need To Revise The 'Up' Part Of The Word Upfront?".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, January 28, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

    There is a disconnect between the C-suite executives at the major TV broadcast networks and the field sales people. You have hit on one element of the the cyclical versus secular debate - buying TV ads closer to air time. Cars and politics are the bread and butter but the field sales people are feeling the ever increasing budgets being allocated to digital media. The buyers for politics are getting smarter with their TV ad spend and although the statement that TV will continue be the dominant media, can major TV networks survive shrunken TV budgets for politics that go from from 60%-80% to 40%-50%? Yes TV will continue to be the dominant media but is this cyclical or secular?

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