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Upfront Negotiations Likely to Be a 'Summer Slog' Ad Age

The upfront advertising market is likely to be a "summer slog," writes Brian Steinberg in Advertising Age.

"Buyers are betting that economic factors crimping marketing budgets will force sellers to keep TV price hikes to a minimum. Dig below the rhetoric, and you're left with both sides acknowledging that dollar volume committed to the medium this year is likely to increase slightly -- but only after a lot of haggling," Steinberg writes.

This year's upfront may represent a cooling off, according to the story. The past two years have seen advertisers shoveling money into television, trying to lock in lower prices before the economy picks up, the story notes.

Scatter advertising has been slow, indicating a weaker upfront, Steinberg notes. "If the two sides can't find common ground, bargaining could drag on for weeks," the story says. "No one is predicting a wrap-up by early June."