Upfront Ad Sales Off to a Slow Start

Jun 2, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Television's annual upfront advertising sales process is getting off to a slow start, reports Meg James in the Los Angeles Times.

"Things are a little slower than in years past," Jason Maltby, an executive director of Mindshare USA, said Friday. "There doesn't seem to be a rush to get things done — which is not a bad thing because it allows advertisers to make more informed decisions.”

Nevertheless, some television executives said sales could pick up in the next few weeks. Starting in June isn’t historically a late time to begin sales, the piece notes.

James writes: “Sure, the major TV networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — sold more than $8.7 billion in prime-time commercial spots in just four days in May 2003 — a sales auction that quickly turned into a feeding frenzy.

“But the 2009 market, during the U.S. financial crisis, represented the other extreme. In that year, upfront ad sales stretched from mid-June to early August as broadcast executives struggled to secure the prices they wanted,” she notes.

This year doesn’t appear as slow as 2009, the story adds. Financial analysts have predicted the networks will sell about $11 billion in commercial time in this year’s upfront market.

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