We're delighted to be participating in this (hopefully) grand experiment and my special thanks to Chuck Ross for establishing this Goldblog, or is it Blogfarb? ... I'll let you decide.So, for National Geographic Channel (NGC) it started back in October with "The Plan" for the Broadcast UF. ... marketing, videos, sales strategy, program development and scheduling etc. ...Then on to hundreds of presentations with our customers, including two NY UF events and one in Chicago. Followed by the construction of customized advertiser solutions and media shop "ASKS". And now it has come down to this. ... THE market is + this and - that. Come on guys, our industry has a metric to capture relative values and it's called a CPM. Plus, there is no such thing as THE market. In fact, it's many small, medium and large marketplaces that roll up into THE über market.
Each Upfront seems to take on a character of its own, is this the year of engagement, marriage or divorce? Is it the year of digital platforms and DVRs? Or is it the year of an already imperfect audience measurement system, further challenged by designations like nearly Live + 1, Dead - 7, etc? Perhaps it's the year of max flexibility for ad spends? Maybe it's all of these? So where are we? We (NGC) are already engaged in discussions, AKA negotiations with a number of pieces of business. All networks have their "drivers". For us, the demand for Dog Whisperer, NGC Digital and Incredible Earth Specials appear to outpace our supply.
Is it true that we sell, negotiate and partner throughout the year? ... Of course. That said, is it also true that the Upfront still serves a purpose for many buyers and sellers? ... I believe so. For those that would consider an electronic trading system, if cost efficiency is the ONLY goal, perhaps that's a worthy undertaking. However, it seems unlikely that a system like that could capture the elements that drive media EFFECTIVENESS.
If advertisers are truly concerned about commercial clutter, why do they create and air so many :15's?
Have you noticed that certain media shops embrace the best stuff that sales orgs offer and others are scared away by accompanying (relatively) premium pricing? While client rosters can contribute mightily to the mix, it seems that corporate culture is also at play.
Not to bite the site that blogs me, but what's with yesterday's TVWeek.com Header- "Slow Start to Ailing TV Market". My triplets gotta fill you in on the Tortoise and the Hare. In all the discussions about ROI, and accountability, the burden seems to be placed squarely on media executions. What about the creative?
Lastly, I guess I'm supposed to channel the great Carson as his Carnac character, so here it goes. ...
Overall, national TV UF spending will be up slightly. Broadcast nets will be flat to minimally down, depending on how you account for digital $. Surprise!... Cable will be UP, with syndication flat to slightly up. Overall pricing will be up, in the mid-single digits.
The market will indeed move slowly (the PASSWORD is "methodical") over the course of several weeks, with fits and starts (the fits from shops that think the silence will rattle sellers ... don't bet on it).
Believe me, this inaugural entry will be my longest! So let's let the games begin, and to a certain media honcho...feel free to come on over to us, our pizza is always hot!
POSTED ON 5.30.06 @ 4:20 P.M. (ET)