Yes, Virginia, The Upfront Presentations Are Still Important

The broadcast networks unveiled their fall television schedules to the industry over several days of presentations this past week.  As I was sitting through the CBS pitch to advertisers on Wednesday, I realized why these presentations are actually more important than ever.  

With all the press headlines about the decline of traditional television and the rise of digital and other screens, where else can I hear, as I did from NBC, that premium video (the new phrase to describe broadcast TV content), has four times as much audience engagement as paid social media?  Or, that on any given Tuesday, FOX delivers 700 Facebook views?  Or, that CBS’s total audience, across platforms, is actually higher than it was in 2000?  Or even that 70% of Univision’s increasingly important young Hispanic audience only watches that network (is that really true?).  Where else can I hear the phrase “digital-linear hybrid,” as I did at the CW presentation?



Where else can I discover that only traditional television can ensure that you are reaching real people, with no fraud?  Or that only networks can guarantee brand safety (avoiding sexual or racist content)? CBS relayed a story of a cruise line that ran an ad online that appeared next to a story about a sinking ship.  There are many, even worse, stories they could have relayed.

Where else can I be continually reminded, that broadcast television content is still king, and that the broadcast networks have far more original scripted programming, and far more stars, than any other video source?

Where else will I hear about how the big media companies that own the broadcast networks are the only place advertisers can receive the massive reach, new precision targeted research, and other added value elements, that will help sell their products far better than any digital outlets are capable of doing?

Most of the claims above are actually true.

Of course, it is fascinating that we’ve reached a point where you can sit through a week of network presentations and not hear once about actual rating size – but that’s a subject for another article.

The upfront presentations are important because when you walk out, you are left with the distinct feeling that despite everything else that is going on, the broadcast networks are still by far the biggest and most effective game in town.

1 comment about "Yes, Virginia, The Upfront Presentations Are Still Important ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2017 at 2:25 p.m.

    Agreed, Steve. Also---and a subtle point----the upfront presentations with all of the hoopla associated with them are fun for the agency planners, buyers etc. and their client counterparts. This is a much looked forward to part of the game and something which the other media---including digital---can't come close to matching----even if they tried.

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