As most of the digital world turns its attention to AdTech this week, another world steeped in a more traditional analog arena duels with broadcast and cable networks in what is known as “the upfront” market (which gets its name from the agreements reached before the start of the fall TV season).
Upwards of one hundred vendors set up their tents to exhibit at this agora where thousands of marketers and agency buyers pack themselves in to begin the negotiation dance as the industry sees as much as nine billion dollars begin changing hands.
This year will be very different from all others. Broadcast and cable executives are standing firm while buyers see blood and will wait out the market rush before swooping in. The upfront market will likely last into August, placing extraordinary pressure on broadcasters to book their inventory.
The game has become more complex as tools to measure and read back-end analytics, while cross managing both broadband video services as well as integrated online/offline reporting, creep into the strategy to move CPMs up or down.
Hovering over Twitter snippets I find there is little if any mention of the upfront marketplace. Are we, the digerati, so caught up in the tech world to the degree that the analog world is literally ignored? Have we created a digital island and become myopic to the world that still makes up more than 85% of the communications stream? Are we leaving something behind as we race to understand the dynamics that make up what promises to be our future?
Granted, the digital market is the fastest growing medium. To ignore it or play it down would not be wise. But, are we spending an inordinate amount of time on that which makes up just 15% of the total marketing spend?
The technology scale has tipped too far to the digital world. If we focused less than half of our efforts to catch up with tomorrow’s coolest app and utilize technology to increase our broadcast experience with ITV or even, perish the thought, saving our daily papers, we might see a friendlier convergence of all media streams.