Digital inroads at upfronts

The major broadcast networks convene in NYC this week to preview their fall progamming to advertisers with the goal of pre-booking upwards of $9 billion in commitments for the upcoming season. The high-stakes entertainment marketplace is an annual ritual of commerce and creativity where content is, generally, king. This year, however, distribution strategies for the content will play an upfront role in the upfront negotiations.

The major broadcast networks convene in NYC this week to preview their fall progamming to advertisers

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with the goal of pre-booking upwards of $9 billion in commitments for the upcoming season. The high-stakes entertainment marketplace is an annual ritual of commerce and creativity where content is, generally, king. This year, however, distribution strategies for the content will play an upfront role in the upfront negotiations.

CNN, for one, is promoting cross-platform, digital media buying opportunities, together with its traditional television ad inventory, as reported by ClickZ:

CNN's digital inventory includes streaming video, wireless, podcasting, VOD, digital-only special features, and high-profile positions like CNN.com home page roadblocks. Each month, more than 24 million unique visitors to CNN.com access more than 32 million video streams and 3.2 million podcasts. More than 62 million monthly page views come via wireless or mobile devices…

The 'now' consumer is accessing content at home, at work, at the mall, during their commute -- on every device imaginable…Advertising packages that succeed in combining those distribution outlets to maximize the client's exposure and reach the consumer on multiple touch points are the ones that will succeed, said Greg D'Alba, COO of CNN ad sales and marketing.

Digital ad spending is not expected to dramatically dampen the traditional upfront spending, however, as reported by Broadcasting & Cable:

I don't think it will be a big factor in where the money goes. For a handful of clients, it will be a small factor, the ones who want to be the first to get in. But I don't think they are going to swing a lot of money. We see young brands shifting money or the big brands and big categories that have the money to test and want to look innovative. But these platforms are not moving the sales needle today. It will take widespread use, more consumer demand and more consumer use. It is a few years away, said Tim Spengler, director of national broadcast for Interpublic Group's Initiative Media.

Widescreen digital inroads are also slowly moving forward, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter:

Despite near-deafening buzz about distribution to wireless devices, computers and "pods" of every stripe, outlays for nontraditional media platforms still account for a small fraction of total ad spending. Nielsen Monitor-Plus found that among nearly $3.5 billion in aggregate marketing expenditures by the major U.S. motion picture studios in 2005, Internet spending totaled $52.3 million -- a mere 1.5%.

Which digital platform will make the strongest impact at the upfronts? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your thoughts.

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