After a brutal, 100-day writers strike, the networks promised shorter upfront presentations for advertisers this week. So what did they cut? All the talk about digital.
For the past two years the networks have waxed on about digital opportunities for advertisers. Many felt they dwelled too much on digital: this is about TV, after all.
But after logging time listening to pitches from NBC, ABC and The CW, Digitas EVP Carl Fremont came away with little to recommend for clients looking to advertise on the Web. “I was surprised there wasn’t as much focus on digital as in the last two years,” he says. “It feels like digital got the short-shrift.”
The result, Fremont says, is the networks could be leaving money on the table. What’s Fremont looking for? His advertisers want to integrate their wares into original Web shows, but he hasn’t seen anything resembling a strategy from the networks. Fremont doesn’t consider Hulu or other outlets that show digital streams of broadcast shows an option, because his advertisers want to integrate into shows rather than sponsor them or place 30-second spots.
“Just placing ads like pre-rolls are not a big interest to us, frankly,” he says. “That’s just taking the old TV model and adapting it to a new screen. We would rather work with a producer and develop custom content.”
Keep in mind, there’s still time. CBS presents this afternoon and is expected to make digital and outdoor advertising a big part of the pitch. Fox comes on Thursday.
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