Wall St. Remains Bullish On Upfronts, Touts Network TV 'Value'

As the 2016-17 upfront -- and NewFront -- pitch season approaches, an influential Wall Street analyst this morning told investors to shift their attention back to the “value” of network TV stocks and away from fast-growing digital media ones.

"As the spring approaches, advertising naturally comes into a bit more focus with the approach of Upfront/NewFront season and our Top 3 picks -- CBS, Google and Fox -- are in place, in part, because of their strong positioning for the annual ad selling extravaganza,” writes BMO Capital Markets media industry analyst Dan Salmon, adding that while Facebook’s upfront “trajectory remains formidable, it is not yet position for the type of budgets normally allocated around this time of year.”

The recommendation, coming a week after Facebook’s F8 developer conference, may take some heat off Facebook’s obsession with the social network, but Salmon suggests it will be due to the ad industry’s even longer run obsession with the upfront and the focus will be around “branding bought around premium video content,” not the kind of conversational selling bots Facebook touted last week.



Google, meanwhile, seems to straddle the high-flying nature of Internet stocks and the world of the upfront’s “value” stocks, because it has taken a bigger position in the annual video advertising sales season by increasingly positioning YouTube as a TV-like option.

“We sense nervousness around Facebook first quarter advertising due to recent mixed channel checks, but still think the issue on which investors should be most focused is how much investment in content is needed before a real assault on TV ad spending can be launched,” Salmon concludes.
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