TV Upfront

Rant of the Week: Beware Early Reports on the TV Upfronts

Published on .

Now that the TV networks have pitched their new TV seasons to ad buyers, it's time to hurry up and wait.

Sure, there's $20 billion in commitments for commercial time in play. But the speculation that precedes those deals is practically priceless.

For those covering the ad industry, the TV upfronts are a peculiar game of "he said, she said." And on all sides, the earliest whispers are largely based on agendas, guesses and partial views of the landscape.

Even once deal-making nears the finish line, those upfront numbers that trickle out are often treated as tangible dollars. But these are commitments, not actual orders, which aren't placed until closer to the fall, and marketers have an option to pull out from a certain percentage of these commitments.

Certainly at this point TV ad sales leaders and agency executives are talking regularly, as networks go out with their most aggressive asks and buyers knock them down. But reliable information about the ultimate results won't come until later -- weeks and even months.

Written and produced by Jeanine Poggi and David Hall.

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