Ultimately, the idea of “Upfront” buys is not going to go away, nor should it. But certain aspects of the current paradigm don’t make sense anymore, and they are holding the industry back. Inertia and market dynamics have led to a situation where advertisers and agencies – after viewing perhaps dozens of mind-numbing presentations where every seller is “#1” at something – negotiate with limited information to pay an undisclosed amount for commercial time, transacted much earlier than they would like, for an upcoming TV “season” that really doesn’t exist in a meaningful way anymore. But yes, by all means, let’s do it again.
Yet....The upfronts give the major networks a chance to trot out their stars at grand venues in New York to hype their fall lineups for an audience of deep-pocketed advertisers, but they also serve as a pitch for TV’s continuing relevance.
One area of interest - esp after yesterdays amazing
: Sports has become the cornerstone to television programming, and the tech giants are well aware of its role as a defensive wall against online disruption. Amazon, Facebook and Google have yet to broker significant exclusive-rights deals with major sports leagues because, for now, they can’t get more than a few hundred thousand people to watch something at the same time.