Mediaweek’s Upfronts/Core TV Brands Rule


Mediaweek’s Upfronts conference, where industry analysts, brand marketers and television programmers meet to opine on the $18B upfront marketplace, is in full swing right now at the Time Life Building in NYC today and Ian Baer, President of Big Fuel, the fa shizzle consumer engagement agency, has been guest blogging live.  Excerpts below, full transcript at the Content to Commerce blog:   

On ad dollars for web, gaming, mobile:
The consensus among Telemundo, Comcast, ESPN, Google, and Yahoo – digital media platforms are most successful when working in tandem with, and extending the reach of, the core tv brand.
– Eric Johnson of ESPN points to the lack of a common metric as the biggest obstacle to selling in multimedia programs.
– Don Browne, president of Telemundo sees mobile as a major part of their upfront strategy … viewers seek integrated experience like on-the-go endings for telenovelas in progress.  
– As for social media, Mike Steib, head of TV sales at Google basically said, “we don’t make money in social media”
(But want to, right?  Why else buy Twitter?)

On programming:
– Build a great TV property, and create digital experiences that let fans go deeper.
– The lack of investment in digital reflects the challenge in monetizing — “chasing the dimes (in digital) as opposed to the dollars (in broadcast).” 
– David Cassaro of Comcast: “bold, innovative ideas” are the real difference bw programs that sell, and those that don’t.   
– Charlie Collier of AMC, John Ford of Discovery, David Lang of Mindshare and Michael Wright of Turner on product integration:  organic which enhances the content vs forced which gets flagged and rejected.  “Consumers are smart.  Sometimes message is going to be secondary…and it works really well for brands.  We have seen the metrics.” — Michael Wright of Turner.
– Marc Berman, Mediaweek’s programming guru, handicapping the new fall season: Gives CBS an A, ABC gets a D, Fox a B, NBC gets a C (with major questions about the rippling impact of the Leno move), and the CW a resounding F.  His interesting prediction on Leno: that it will raise the age of their average viewer, hurt their local news ratings, and in turn result in a potentially significant dropoff in ratings for the Conan-hosted Tonight show come the fall.  The buzz stayed focused on the impact the new NBC Jay Leno show at 10PM weeknights may have in terms of creating new opportunities for the competition.  Michael Wright of Turner: “Whatever it means to them, this is a great opportunity for us.” 
On three-screen consumption:
– Manish Bhatia, president of Advanced Television Services at Nielsen:  Overall television viewership is up across the board, but the fragmentation is ever-increasing on the growing number of time shifting options.  The number one internet consumption demographic is no longer the 18-34 crowd, but 35-54 has emerged as the largest online audience.  That said, 18-34 year olds still dominate video consumption, with YouTube respresenting 50% of all video traffic, and Hulu growing in viewership at a very impressive rate.  In the month of January 2009 alone, 136 million people watched 11 billion videos, averaging 77 videos per viewer, for a total of 3 hours per month/viewer, at an average duration of 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Online video is now mainstream: 80% of internet users (47% of the US population) regularly stream online video. And, behaviorally, viewers are viewers — meaning that this online video consumption is largely additive to TV viewership.  People tend to gravitate to the biggest, best screen available to them at any given time.  And an interesting trend in multi-screen consumption: according to a 12/08 study, 70% of the time someone is using the internet they are simultaneously watching TV.  In terms of who uses their screens for what — not a lot of surprises. Among the 18-44 demo, the fragmentation is astounding: Live TV, DVD, gaming, web, phone.  At age 45, traditional live TV consumption jumps by about 50%, though fragmentation continues (with the exception of email and IM, which drop off substantially).  It’s not until you get to the group over age 65 that live TV becomes the dominant screen.  Nielsen surveyed consumers ‘of all the technologies you don’t currently own, which would you purchase today if someone paid half…the answer, overwhelmingly at 84%, Nintendo Wii.  HDTV came in second at around 45%.  (Wii, a great family platform yet to be the development / distribution mecca of XBLA).  Perhaps the most astonishing claim of the day:  according to Nielsen, every single person who saw Hulu’s Super Bowl ad (starring Alec Baldwin) visited Hulu within a month after seeing the ad.  Here is an LA Times article referencing the report. and here is the Nielsen blog post.

The Upfronts run from March through May.  Check out, Ad Age, and Broadcasting & Cable for excellent coverage and for the industry calendar:

3/12  Nickelodeon – NYC Breakfast
3/16  Sci Fi Channel – NYC Evening (now SyFy)
3/24  Hallmark Channel – NYC Press Lunch
3/25  Cartoon Network – NYC BreakfastScripps – Boston Lunch
3/26  Discovery – Chicago Late Afternoon
3/31  Scripps – Detroit Breakfast, USA – NYC Evening
4/2  Discovery – NYC Late Afternoon, Scripps – Chicago Lunch
4/3  Bloomberg – NYC Breakfast
4/7  ABC Family – NYC Lunch, USA – LA Evening
4/14  Bravo – NYC Breakfast, BET – LA Lunch, Scripps – MN Lunch, MTV – Chicago Afternoon
4/15  Discovery – LA Late Afternoon, Oxygen – NYC Press Lunch
4/16  Scripps – LA Lunch, BET – Chicago Lunch, MTV – NYC Late Afternoon
4/17 MTV – NYC Lunch
4/21  Scripps – NYC Breakfast
4/23 MSNBC, MSN – NYC Late Afternoon, BET – NYC Evening – Parker Meridien
4/26  National Geographic – NYC Afternoon
4/28 Bloomberg – NYC
5/4   Scripps – Atlanta Lunch
5/5    NBC – NYC
5/14  AETN – NYC Evening
5/18  FOX – NYC
5/19   ABC – NYC Afternoon, ESPN – NYC Breakfast, FOX Sports Espanol – NYC Lunch
5/20  CBS – NYC
5/20   Turner – NYC Morning, Turner – NYC Evening
5/21   CW – NYC Morning

One Response to “Mediaweek’s Upfronts/Core TV Brands Rule”

  1. wow.. it’s a great post. i was looking for this. thank you for the information.

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