Commentary

Will Upfront Get A New Premium Moniker?

NewFront promoters found a way to distinguish themselves over the last few years. Now, traditional TV networks need a new name for their efforts. Anything with the word “premium’ and or ‘video’ might do.

Seems to be easy: It’s already regularly in the upfront presentations.

All this week, we have heard variations on this theme -- with added words: "television" or "broadcast" or “live” thrown into this mix of higher value descriptors.

Earlier in the week, ESPN, which has some obvious subscriber issues, offered up a clear positive for its ongoing efforts -- talking up the word “live’ with its big live programming viewing. That’s a simple message marketers can get behind: “live” means “premium” -- and  something more.

ESPN is offering a Total Live Audience metric -- which will include live viewing on traditional live linear TV, as well as streaming measures and out-of-home viewing calculated by Nielsen. Time-shifting viewing? Not so much.

“We’re committed to something even more valuable than that,” said Eric Johnson, EVP/global ad revenue and sales operations at ESPN’s upfront presentation. “Every impression on every screen, 24 hours third-party verified. It’s one currency for you to trade on. Simple.”

But even without the “live” adjective worked into “premium,” TV networks will still talk up value of time-shifted viewing.  TV networks will also tout these valuable video results when it comes to actual total minutes consumers view versus that of big digital media video pretenders.

And not just for ESPN. Lots of traditional TV networks make the same claims.

Fox Networks Group did this during its upfront presentation.

Joe Marchese, Fox’s new president of advertising revenue, said: “On any given Sunday. Fox delivers 768 million impressions, YouTube clocks in at 27 million and Facebook a meager 150,000. Not only that, but “Fox [in] prime time delivers 700 Facebooks.”

Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal: “There is no algorithm for heart-pumping, blood-racing, breath-holding, premium content."

In the morning on Wednesday, during Turner’s upfront presentation, Donna Speciale,  president of president of Turner Ad Sales said: “I understand you are tired of paying more for less. Well, now consider paying more for more.”

Fair enough. Still, for advertisers the word “premium” will always yield another association, wanting to call this advertising sales period plainly what it is: The Even More Expensive TV Upfront.

1 comment about "Will Upfront Get A New Premium Moniker?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

    Wayne, in the world of media primetime TV shows on the broadcast TV networks and some of those on cable are already considered "premium" . Efforts by certain sellers to create the illusion of better targeting by indexing Nielsen ratings with dubious set usage/product purchase data, while still bundling all of their shows together in discounted CPM packages, are being labelled the new "premiumP only so gullible buyers who fall for that ploy can pay higher CPMs for what they could have gotten the usual way.

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