January 30, 2009 10:42 AM
CBS said Thursday that it would go on with its annual upfront ad sales presentation at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan in May, as usual.
At first blush this sounds insensitive, if not downright obscene, given that every day we read about seemingly unending staff reductions and hiring freezes, as well as pay and bonus freezes, at just about every media company.
But these annual dog-and-pony shows put on by the broadcast and cable networks are becoming tamer by the year, as they should given the media business’s continuing downward decline.
So I say let the show go on. After all, you have to spend money to make money, and these presentations are very pragmatic. It’s an opportunity for a network to strut its stuff to a large, captive audience in one venue.
And CBS, at least, has a strong story to tell. But will the other networks, like the fourth-place NBC, hold upfront bashes as well?
And the biggest question is, should they?