Upfront & Personal: The Devil in Lingerie

TV upfronts allow advertisers and their agencies the opportunity to enter the broadcast and cable marketplace early to secure inventory for the following year. Negotiations are typically third and fourth quarter, followed by first and second quarter of the following year. Upfront negotiations enable advertisers to leverage collective dollars (across a full year) and negotiate media placements at aggressive rates versus scatter buys.  Just as there are advantages to upfront negotiations, there is also a place for scatter buying.

With regards to children’s networks, Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, and The Hub all announced new projects including new programming and cross platform marketing opportunities.  

Each year the kid’s networks hope for increased spending from the toy and food categories, as well as robust investments from the studios, and introductions of CPG, retail, travel and car spending.   New projects/pilots have been ordered for the upcoming season to keep broadcast programming fresh and marketing opportunities new for advertisers. 

When buying media inventory from upfront buyers, agencies or networks, warns David Becker, president of Blue Plate Media Services, and strategic partner with TIA – “be sure you are securing premium inventory that is truly in your best interest, that covers day parts, weekly weighting by quarter and/or programming that aligns with your brand, and not investing in media that is in the best interest of the agency or network selling you the inventory”.  The wrong inventory, even at a great rate, is still the wrong inventory.  It’s the devil in lingerie.

The takeaway from this article is that the Upfront can be a wonderful opportunity to leverage your media money for maximum value.  Or, you may opt to hold off on the upfront and buy in the scatter, hedging your bet, playing the market and securing inventory relevant to your needs...and budget.   You can also consider a calendar upfront. Another option – you can leverage your media dollars and maximize your share of voice (SOV) by pooling budgets through cumulative buys with partners.   According to Becker, “The power of a group, fueled by a common goal, helps to take what might be considered a “smaller” spend and convert it into a “media spend with muscle”.  

Consider your options.  

David Becker, Blue Plate Media Services, LLC

Published 05.03.11