Is that the timeline for when the majority of TV upfront advertising deals will get done?
Until now, TV upfront activity has moved at a snail’s pace, with all the obvious question marks: When, what price, what volume, and at what increases in cost per thousand (CPM) viewers?
Right now, TV media buyers aren’t interested in any CPM increases. (Of course, they say that every year). But more specifically, they believe the market should offer a 5% decline in CPMs.
For their part, TV networks are hoping for flat pricing, according to sources. That said, with even more viewership erosion, lower overall revenue advertising volume would be the result. Whoa.
Even then -- given the still-iffy marketplace going forward, one where a vaccine deployed for all U.S. citizens could arrive by spring 2021 at the earliest -- it means massive hesitance on the part of consumers to buy stuff. Or for business owners to hire back more workers.
So if you are planning a multimillion-dollar upfront buy, what should you do?
Lots of focus remains on the near-term, month-to-month buying of the scatter market, where TV network media sales executives recently have termed that market “strong.”
The downside, of course, is that scatter unit pricing continues to be historically higher versus ad deals made during the upfront selling period.
SQAD says that during the first three months of this year, average scatter prime-time pricing for ABC, CBS and NBC was $144,584 per 30-second unit, with pricing on deals made during the upfront, $83,171.
In April, it was $108,952 (scatter); $84,734 (upfront).
True upfront market news will come in dribs and drabs -- with some networks talking about completion of their TV advertising deals, and some not talking at all.
At present, budgets are being registered. But when all it well and done, I’m thinking upfront deals will come with a nice bow attached. Surprise Thanksgiving or Christmas gift?