TV networks have been looking at getting rid of those costly upfront presentations for years -- and next year there's a strong likelihood that'll happen.
But what about the actual upfront advertising market itself? Will it be still be important for advertisers to secure top programming for an entire season just before the start of the season?
There's always been strong debate about these issues. But judging from advertisers' recent movements -- even in the volcanic shakeups that the writers' strike brings to the table - there are still strong indications that upfronts will be around for a long time.
From a networks' perspective, upfronts always work for them -- advertisers fighting for their best programming, and networks getting billions of dollars before the season starts. Now without any glitzy upfront presentations, network can save around $3 million to $5 million each.
NBC's Jeff Zucker is now using the massive changes in the marketplace -- coming from the digital media area, with a kick-start by the writers' strike -- as leverage to perhaps do business differently.
NBC already made a decision not to participate in the winter TV critics' tour - and now it's NBC's upfront presentations. But that doesn't mean NBC -- nor other networks - is rejecting an upfront market.
For advertisers, there will always be the need for a marketplace, because TV marketers will always look to beat out other media agencies to spend more money for high-rated TV shows, and in the future, digitally distributed high-rated TV shows.
At the same time, entertainment sellers don't want to piss off their customers. So they'll continue to give as many marketers as they can a chance to buy their shows.
If it's still a content game. they'll want as many buyers as possible vying for those rights. That's a market.
Instead of those gaudy parties, now look for networks to have simple closed-door, small presentations meetings with each media agency -- maybe with a few bagels.