Upfront 07

VIDEO SERIES: Inside the Upfront

Report From CBS, Fox and CW Presentations: From Hard Business to Pussycat Dolls

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The springtime frenzy of network presentations and freewheeling auctioneering known as the TV upfront has become the front line of marketing's ongoing revolution. Throughout April and May, this new series of Advertising Age original video reports will provide an inside view of the $9 billion annual event that is the financial pivot of the prime-time TV business as well as a barometer of the larger media and marketing industry.
Report From CBS, FOX and The CW Presentations
From Quick, Hard Business to Pussycat Dolls
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Continuing the early-week trend, brevity reigned supreme at the late-week upfront events from CBS, Fox and the CW. Foregoing any entertainment, Fox, which had an infamously long and messy upfront event last year, surprised its audience this year with a hard-business briefing lasting less than an hour. Katie Couric, who was the star of CBS's presentation last year, was notably absent from the network's event last week, sparking the most gossip. And CW's show, which was short, still jammed in some fun by kicking off the morning presentation with the Pussycat Dolls. Watch Ad Age MediaWorks editor Ann Marie Kerwin's report.
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Report From NBC and ABC Presentations
A Curious Juxtaposition of On-Stage Style
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a curious juxtaposition of styles, NBC's Monday afternoon upfront presentation was starkly focused on business, while ABC's Tuesday bash flaunted all the trappings of a major Broadway stage spectacle. NBC surprised media buyers by saying little about the 18-to-49 demographic in which it lags. ABC unexpectedly announced that its cable partners had agreed to zap ad zappers by disabling their VOD systems' fast-forwarding capabilities. Watch MediaWorks editor Ann Marie Kerwin's report on the week's first two upfront presentations.

Show Time: The Big Network Presentations
A Frenzied Week of Glitz and Sales Hype
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Postponing their discussed move toward less-excessive upfront presentations, TV's big networks are back at it this week in a frenzy of stage shows and parties to flog their shows to advertisers. But what really matters, says Ad Age MediaWorks editor Ann Marie Kerwin, are the programs themselves. She looks at some of the hottest properties being hawked to media buyers.

Cable TV Upfront Update
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The cable TV upfront dragged on interminably last year because it choked on the complexity of the broad digital integrations that media buyers demanded but network officials were not organized to provide. This year, those networks have revamped themselves with newly appointed digital chiefs and sales teams dedicated to interactive media. Ad Age media reporter Andrew Hampp also explains how cable has dramatically changed the way it courts advertisers this year.

Cellphone TV Emerges as Upfront Topic
Meanwhile, Digital Talent Hunt Slows Agencies
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- While it still remains largely a novelty, the third screen -- cellphone-based video programming and advertising -- is for the first time emerging as a topic of discussion in this year's upfront. Pepsi and Intel have bought into Viacom's mobile TV offerings but few big buys are expected beyond that, given that audiences for mobile content are currently so small. Meanwhile, ad agencies continue to scramble for digital talent in a market that is making ever-more-sophisticated digital projects standard components of the upfront's major deals.

Digital Elbows In Further
But Estimates of a $1 Billion Take For TV Networks' Online Properties Are Too High NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Even though TV networks have launched frenzied efforts to expand their digital offerings, most of those online properties still lack the scale sought by major media buyers. This has lured the major internet portals -- which do have huge audiences -- to compete more aggressively than ever against the titans of television in the upfront. Ad Age digital editor Abbey Klaassen explains how Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN continue to muscle their way in.
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Why Scatter Matters
Fourth of an Ongoing Video Series NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Although it's completely separate from the upfront, the scatter market plays a major role in the overall psychology of upfront buying and selling. This year, second-quarter scatter numbers are strong -- meaning the TV ad market is tight. That heightens competition for choice prime-time slots for the coming year, enhances the networks' negotiating position and exerts upward pricing pressure on upfront dealings. Ad Age media reporter Claire Atkinson explains the bad news for media buyers and their client advertisers.

The Maddening Metrics Puzzle
Third of an Ongoing Video Series
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Perhaps the single most jarring and disruptive change in this year's TV upfront is the fragmentation of the currency standard used for the buying and selling of prime-time advertising. The struggle around this crucial logistic now involves program ratings, commercial ratings and engagement metrics as well as the issue of "live" vs. time-shifted viewing. As Ad Age media reporter Claire Atkinson explains, the situation has never been as chaotic or confusing.

Following the Big Money
Second of an Ongoing Video Series
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As always, the most keenly watched and debated points of this year's TV upfront will be the total amount of money spent and whether CPM prices are likely to climb skyward. Ad Age media reporter Claire Atkinson provides an overview of some of the key issues she and other upfront insiders track as they follow the big money.

Early to Market
First of an Ongoing Video Series
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The TV upfront, the process of advance buying and selling of prime-time advertising that used to occur in a matter of weeks each spring, now takes a third of a year to complete. This year, players like Oxygen held their upfront presentations as early as January. And, says Ad Age media reporter Claire Atkinson, the dramatic forces that continue to distort the length and logistics of the traditional upfront show no signs of easing up.
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