TV Still Dominates Upfront Dollars, But Digital Media Makes Inroads

Growing digital video media apps/platforms will try to make an impact in the traditional TV upfront buying market this year. But don’t expect much, if any dramatic shifts in dollars.

When asked what digital media platforms can do garner some of the upfront TV dollars, Steve Carbone, managing director, chief digital and investment officer, MediaCom NA, said: “The approach needs to be not about pulling away linear TV dollars, but how they can help support and amplify our client’s linear TV spends.”

For digital video platforms, Carbone says this should include touting unique offerings, special content synergies, innovation, customization and data -- as well as offering key performance indicators (KPIs) for moving a marketer’s business.

Erin Elliott, vice president, media for Walton Isaacson, said: “If they want TV money, they have to talk to the folks that control those budgets. [But] often times, based on legacy structures, those relationships just aren’t there.”



On this last point, there are also legacy, long-term pricing arrangements to consider.

TV media agency buyers says this can be difficult. Many big brand TV network advertisers are wedded to many low CPM “bases” established with TV networks -- with many unwilling to leave them for potential digital video platform deals.

Still, Elliott says other market changes and bias toward traditional TV networks are changing:

“[Digital media sellers] should hammer home the story on cord-cutting and declining TV ratings. Consumers don’t differentiate between what is digital versus what is TV.” 

In the recent past, premium digital video programming had been sold at a premium CPMs vs. traditional TV. Now, lower pricing for digital video platform content has made things more competitive.

“Our premium digital video pricing is inline with our linear TV pricing from a CPM [cost per thousand viewers] and demo CPM perspective, when comparing similar formats :15, :30 and :60s,” says Carbone.

Adds Elliott: “There has been some movement recently toward price parity as digital platforms try to compete for TV dollars... However, based on pure scale, reach and eyeballs, [digital] can’t compete directly.”

2 comments about "TV Still Dominates Upfront Dollars, But Digital Media Makes Inroads".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. dorothy higgins from Mediabrands WW, April 26, 2019 at 12:13 p.m.

    A benefit of national linear TV is the ability to see how impressions generally disperse among markets, especially the top 25, over half the country.  While not perfect, there is a certain reliability in the overall methdology and directional data.  While hammering home digital video CPMs it is important to note that these are frequently negoitated on an aggregated basis without guildines for geograophic dispersion. Thus, we actually don't know where the impressions deliver.  When we put constraints on geography the cost goes up exponentially due to labor and tehnology costs.  THAT would be a more fair analysis of the true cost for the different video distribution partners. 

  2. Tedd Speck from Advertiser Perceptions, April 26, 2019 at 2:42 p.m.

    Will you continue spending with them?  If so, they have zero reason to stop fooling you.  Mark Prichard's approach to the digital transparancy issue certainly changed things.  If brands moved even more $$ into digital and away from TV to protest ad loads  (and lies) it would get the networks' attention.  The buyers are perpetuating the dishonesty.  I guess this is justifyable victim blaming.

Next story loading loading..