Digital Deals Are Still Being Written

Jun 24, 2007  •  Post A Comment

While the broadcasters have wrapped up their upfront sales of prime-time television commercials, they’re still taking orders for the digital advertising that played such a big part in most of their May presentations to advertisers.
Ad sales executives said it was too soon to tell how big digital sales would be this season, other than to venture that the segment would be up significantly from last year.
Buyers said the television market moved too swiftly for them to bundle digital into their deals with the broadcast networks.
“It doesn’t mean we’re not interested in digital,” one buyer said. “It just didn’t necessarily move immediately with television.”
Advertisers have been spending more of their marketing dollars online, and television networks have been creating digital opportunities to recapture those dollars.
In this year’s upfront, ABC planned to sell the streaming versions of its shows, as well as ads on ABC.com, ABCNews.com and SoapNet.com.
“None of those totals are reported yet because not all of that business is written,” said Mike Shaw, president of sales and marketing at ABC. “I wouldn’t characterize that upfront as being done yet. That’s going to stretch out over at least another month, I think.”
Mr. Shaw said that in many cases, the agency that buys television for an advertiser is different from the agency that buys interactive media. Also, some clients’ digital budgets weren’t ready yet, he said.
Even NBC, which did a $1 billion deal with media buyer GroupM that involved its broadcast, cable and digital assets, was still working on its digital sales with other agencies, buyers said.
At last year’s upfront TV advertising market, digital ad purchases constituted about 2 percent to 3 percent of sales, according to Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen.

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