After Two-Year Run, Syndicators Opt to Meet With Agencies One at a Time

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NEW YORK ( -- Syndicators are opting for a different way to sell their wares to advertisers, as individual client and agency meetings take the place of the road-show-like SNTA Day this year.

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The daylong event was efficient -- it crammed in meetings between all the major programmers and sales execs -- but that efficiency has been trumped by the need for deeper, more individually tailored meetings between advertising executives and syndicators, according to executives.

“Our members have made the decision that they’d like to have deeper conversations on a client-specific basis with the agencies,” said Mitch Burg, CEO of SNTA. “While this SNTA syndication day was a wonderful success, as the world changes we’ll be taking the liberty to have those longer, deeper conversations.”

Pre-upfront gathering
The pre-upfront gathering, which was conceived in 2002 at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention, has been dropped after just two years. It was launched as an event where advertisers would be the main focus, rather than NATPE, which has a greater focus on the distribution and international sides of the business. But syndicators soon found that the often cramped meetings at SNTA Day -- up to 30 or 40 people would be in a meeting at the same time -- didn’t foster an environment where advertisers could confer.

“For the types of discussions that people want to have in the future -- branded entertainment ideas, for example, people don’t want to talk in front of each other,” Mr. Burg said. The role of the SNTA, he said, will not change.

For some time, the SNTA, which stands for the Syndicated Network Television Association, has primarily visited clients that are lower spenders in syndication. Planning the advertising-focused day was originally an addition to the organization’s role, not its sole purpose.

Jon Mandel
“I never understood why there was a SNTA day in the first place,” said Jon Mandel, U.S. chairman and chief global buying officer of WPP Group's MediaCom. While some eyed advertisers as an afterthought at NATPE, “NATPE was a time to talk to content and research people and producers,” Mr. Mandel said. “But when all the barter syndicators started going I had to listen to a speech by them and I could do that in New York. When SNTA did their day, it was like, OK, we can go do that and use NATPE for what it was supposed to be.”

Some media agencies, like Mr. Mandel, welcomed the change, while others suggested their syndication planning would now take more time.

All the major studios, except Sony Pictures Television, are part of SNTA.

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