The rumblings out of NBC and CBS are that if the May upfront galas aren’t canceled, they’ll be significantly scaled back. Each May, the networks throw a week of Broadway-esque shows and parties to get advertisers excited about new fall shows before the actual negotiations begin. But MediaPost surveys a bunch of big media buyers who sound like they’d by happy to skip the week-long bacchanal in favour of some DVDs in the mail.
The consensus among the buyers, including Carat’s Andy Donchin, Starcom’s Jackie Kulesza, and Optimedia’s Larry Novenstern, is that the presentations are outmoded, and don’t help the process of deal-making, which is actually delayed while they sit through some 15 hours of presentations.
But here’s the ironic part: the networks may be the ones hurt if the upfront presentations go away. One exec, who decided to remain nameless, said the glitzy shows do what one-on-one meetings can’t: gin up excitement among the buyers for shows, which is especially important if you’re NBC and you don’t have ratings.
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