Commentary

The Broadcast Network Upfront Dog & Ponies Wither As Nourishment Is Withheld

After much heated discussion and in-depth press coverage, the 2008 broadcast network upfront presentations have been meaningfully reshaped. Less food and after-party partying this year:

  • ABC has canceled its after-party party following its May 13, streamlined Lincoln Center presentation.

  • NBC will host a two-part Upfront meeting which began last week and will extend through May 12, when its NBCU media properties will be showcased.

  • CBS has canceled its famed Tavern on the Green after-party following its May 14 Upfront presentation.

  • Fox will hold its after-party party at Central Park's Wollman Rink following its May 15 "short and sweet" Upfront presentation.

  • Over the last few years the media community has seriously entertained a variety of modifications to its "Upfront" procedural resulting in the failed attempt to emulate Wall Street's ringing of "the bell" signaling the daily commencement and termination of trading activity, last year's adoption of the C3 metric that inadvertently tightened cumulative market ratings points which resulted in artificially augmenting pricing, and in this upcoming season withholding sustenance from hungry media practitioners.

    One can only hope that the revenue saved from the diminished New Season celebrations will be allocated to the deployment of interactive TV and televisual applications, the development and measurement of cross-media applications, and the support for generating meaningful audience measurement methodology that will help us navigate the turbulent, transitional digital waters ahead.

    I think John Lennon expressed it best in "Nobody Told Me" - though perhaps in our case his "media-centric" title should be "Nobody Told Me But I Think We All Knew":

    Everybody's talking and no one says a word

    Always something happening and nothing going on

    There's always something cooking and nothing in the pot

    Everybody's runnin' and no one makes a move

    Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground

    Strange days indeed - most peculiar, mama.

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