Sales exec eyes bigger bite of upfront

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

UPN will take a bigger share of the upfront market this year than it did in 2000, predicts Michael Mandelker, executive vice president, network sales, at Viacom’s junior broadcast network.
“The mating dance is just beginning,” he said, adding the prediction that the upfront will be concluded some time this month, with less money spent in the marketplace overall. Deals haven’t been made yet at UPN, but when all is said and done, the network will have about 100 advertiser deals in hand, according to Mr. Mandelker, who compared that to the “300-plus” deals NBC might do.
“[Sellers] don’t get extra credit for selling early,” he said. “They get extra credit for selling correctly.”
The reason UPN will do comparatively well, he said, is twofold. First, advertisers want to be aboard “Enterprise,” the latest incarnation of the Paramount’s long-running “Star Trek” film, TV and merchandising sci-fi franchise, set to debut on UPN this fall.
Second, new female-audience-oriented advertisers attracted by “Roswell” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are looking for the first time to do business with UPN, which heretofore has been perceived only as a destination for boys and young men.
“Enterprise” is a vote of confidence in UPN from Viacom, Mr. Mandelker said, adding that the “Star Trek” franchise itself is worth more to the company than the entire UPN network.