"It was a conscious decision," Hilary Smith, a spokeswoman for NBC told MediaDailyNews, explaining, "We feel that a week before the upfront was not the right timing to be discussing it."
Smith declined to elaborate on NBC's reasons for staying away from NUDG, but the attendees list reads like a who's who of stakeholders in the upfront process, from leading national advertisers to some of the biggest agency buyers and representatives from broadcast, cable and syndication.
While other network executives have had public and private misgivings about the event, the Peacock is flying alone. Confirmed to attend the meeting are the other broadcast networks' ad sales chiefs, WB's Bill Morningstar; CBS/UPN's Joann Ross; ABC's Mike Shaw; and Fox Broadcasting's Jon Nesvig. Also attending are Barry Fischer and David Levy from Turner, Susan Malfa from Court TV, as well as Warner Bros. Michael Teicher, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Sean Cunningham and Syndicated Network Television Association's Mitch Burg.
ANA executives didn't seem to be too broken up by NBC's unwillingness to attend.
"Go back to the mission of this group: To have a productive dialogue about upfront process. We have a full house which will allow us to do so," ANA President/Chief Executive Officer Robert Liodice told MDN Wednesday afternoon. "NBC's decision to not be present does not change the ability of this group to carry out its very basic mission."