Basics of the ‘Hard 10’

Mar 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Like Cartoon Network’s “Ben 10,” “Hard 10” might make a good name for the hero of a kids cartoon. And if it were, ad buyers probably would be all over it.

In the kids television advertising market, the “hard 10” are the 10 weeks-or eight weeks, depending on whom you talk to-from October through December leading up to Christmas. Demand for ads in those weeks, particularly among toy makers, drives the market.

There are really two kids upfronts: one for the hard 10 and the pre-Easter periods and one for the other quarters, said Kim McQuilken, executive VP of Cartoon Network advertising sales and marketing and Cartoon Network Enterprises. He said back-to-school has the potential to be a breakout period as well.

Pricing during the hard 10 is much higher than it is the rest of the year.

While Mr. McQuilken’s job is to push clients who need to advertise their products during the hard 10 to buy the rest of the year as well, buyers are trying to resist that strategy.

“Does it make sense to pay an exorbitant [cost per thousand] during eight weeks in Q4 just because everyone else has to be on the air at that time? Maybe, but most likely not,” said Dan Kopec, media director for Starcom USA.

“It really depends on an agency’s client base if they need to do a traditional upfront or not.”