How U.S. Networks Woo Advertisers -- Lavishly ; Selling Commercial Time in Advance Involves Lots of Food and Glamour

By Chozick, Amy | International Herald Tribune, May 15, 2012 | Go to article overview

How U.S. Networks Woo Advertisers -- Lavishly ; Selling Commercial Time in Advance Involves Lots of Food and Glamour


Chozick, Amy, International Herald Tribune


The upfronts, which began in the 1960s as a glorified trade show for television executives to sell advertising time in advance for their autumn TV schedules, have become ever more extravagant.

This week, the biggest U.S. television networks will battle it out for their share of the more than $60 billion in advertising dollars spent by the world's largest marketers on television commercials each year.

The networks' weapons? A sushi bar 40 feet, or more than 12 meters, long; a 125-foot star-studded red carpet; and 14 flavors of doughnuts (including candied ginger and hibiscus).

What began in the 1960s as a glorified trade show for television executives to woo marketers and sell advertising time upfront to support the coming autumn TV schedule has evolved into a party that can cost networks more than $1 million.

Today, the upfronts, as they are known, look more like Fashion Week than a business transaction. This week, celebrity D.J.'s will spin dance music in elaborate tents complete with lounges where marketers can sip specialty cocktails alongside stars.

The addition of social media means the upfronts are not just a tool for connecting to advertisers, either. Joe Earley, the Fox network's president of marketing and communications, compared the event to Comic-Con, the gathering for enthusiasts of comic books and related aspects of pop culture held annually in San Diego. That is, they are a first and "crucial" chance to tell the most devoted fans about the autumn TV season.

"It's a chance for us to show ourselves at our best, because God knows the reality of ratings will set in soon," said Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development at NBCUniversal.

In the go-go 1990s, when advertising dollars poured into television, and networks did not face the same threats from the Internet or cable competitors, the upfronts "almost became a game to top what the other guy was doing and get the most buzz for your upfront," said Tim Brooks, a television historian.

Back then, NBC held its party in the sprawling ballroom of the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel in New York. Other parties took place at the Plaza Hotel. Presentations featured live animals and Broadway-style spectaculars, complete with confetti and chorus lines of dancers.

Indeed, as television evolved and networks had to fight harder for advertisers' attention, the lavishness of an upfront presentation became inversely linked to a network's fortunes (or lack thereof). What a network lacked in ratings, it tried to make up in passed hors d'oeuvres and party-favor panache.

Most of the big-ticket deals with advertisers were still struck in conference rooms over stale Chinese takeout, Mr. Brooks said. "It was a lot of money down the drain, but no one wanted to be the first one to stop doing it," he said of the upfront parties. "Incrementally, they all started to pull back."

The economic troubles of 2008 forced the networks to scale back even more. The iPod party favors disappeared, and the shrimp cocktail towers seemed a little skimpier, if they existed at all. ABC stopped holding a party after its presentations, held at Avery Fisher Hall, a concert auditorium at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Lately, the glamour has slowly returned, partly because of improving economic conditions and partly out of necessity. The big four U.S. broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- face more competition than ever. Cable channels and Web services like Hulu and YouTube hold their own elaborate upfronts and compete for the same advertising dollars. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How U.S. Networks Woo Advertisers -- Lavishly ; Selling Commercial Time in Advance Involves Lots of Food and Glamour
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.