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  • WTF Upfronts/NewFronts

    Table of contents

    01 Introduction

    02 The Upfronts: A brief history

    06 The NewFronts: A briefer history

    11 The Future

    08 The NewFronts 2016

    03 The Upfronts 2016

  • WTF Upfronts/NewFronts 01

    Digital media types tend to suffer a kind of myopia: Programmatic ad serving, audience targeting and RTB are our lingua franca, but across the aisle in TV land, direct buying is still king. And the kings court is the television Upfront.

    Thats right, for three solid months in every city in the United States, the biggest global advertisers converge on this programming showcase to negotiate and pledge dollar figures so staggering that digital media just had to shave off a sliver.

    And lo, the Digital Content NewFronts were born.

    So if the Upfronts are for TV and the NewFronts are for digital, why do we need this guide? Because new technologies like programmatic advertising and OTT, demanded by digital natives, are forcing the linear TV big shots to go digital. And TVs glamour and revenue is luring digital media producers to television.

    Keep reading and well unpack which is which, who is where and whether the divide between these two events should eventually disappear.


  • WTF Upfronts/NewFronts 02

    Up front buyingthe purchase of commercial air-time based on the promise of upcoming TV programminghas existed almost as long as television itself. Networks offered advertisers an advanced look at programming as early as the late 1940s, when Howdy Doody, The Texaco Star Theater and the Indian Head Test Pattern were all top-tier entertainments.

    But the Upfronts as we know it werent born until 1962, when the American Broadcasting Company shifted from a year-round premiere schedule to a single, fall debut season, and offered advertisers an early look via a spring showcase. NBC and CBS followed the next year, and suddenly buyers found themselves all jockeying at once for a limited amount of commercial airtime.

    This Mad Men-era sellers market shifted only slightly in 1967, when ABC again redefined the market by offering the first-ever ratings guarantees. Advertisers could now bank on a concrete promise of viewership with prices set accordingly and, for the first time, they could angle for a bargain by placing their bets on sleeper hits. Still, supply remained relatively scarce.

    That all changed in the early 80s, when the broadcast networks found themselves shoulder to shoulder with young cable upstarts offering ever more diversified inventory and more targeted audiences. Stay at home moms, yuppies, even kids took on greater currency as the swelling ranks of cable networks clammered for advertising dollars and the big three kvetched about their fracturing audience.

    Sound familiar? It should. There are so many broadcast, cable and now non-linear providers that the Upfronts of 2016 span three months and are hosted in every major US city. To get a leg up on linear and digital competitors, networks aim to bow buyers over with star power, trotting out their marquis players.

    Last year, FOX brought in Will Forte, Kristen Schaal and January Jones to debut their comedy, Last Man On Earth. Meanwhile, E! had the ubiquitous Kardashians walk the stage to usher in a new season and introduce their growing suite of reality spin-offs. All this to support the direct buying relationships that still supply the most TV revenue.

    The Upfronts: A brief history

  • WTF Upfronts/NewFronts 03

    The Upfronts 2016 Schedule

    Date Network Location Time

    March 2 Nickelodeon New York Afternoon

    March 3 Nick@Nite/TVLand/CMT New York Afternoon

    March 79 Disney Media Orlando Afternoon/Evening

    March 8 Games Show Network New York Morning

    March 15 Scripps Networks Atlanta Afternoon/Evening

    March 15 National Geographic New York Morning

    March 22 Scripps Networks Detroit Afternoon/Evening

    March 29 Scripps Networks New York Full Day

    March 30 Azteca America Los Angeles Morning

    March 31 Discovery Comms. New York Morning

    March 31 Comedy Central New York Afternoon/Evening

    April 5 Azteca America Chicago Morning

    April 6 Scripps Networks Los Angeles Afternoon/Evening

    April 6 Fox Sports Media New York Evening

    April 7 Simulmedia New York Afternoon

    April 7 Freeform New York Evening

    April 11 Bravo/E!/Oxygen New York Afternoon

    April 12 Cadent Media New York Morning

    April12 Azteca America New York Afternoon

    April 13 Scripps Chicago Afternoon/Evening

    April 18 BET Network Chicago Afternoon/Evening

    April 19 Scripps Networks Minneapolis Afternoon/Evening

    April 20 Crackle New York Morning

    April 20 BET Network New York Evening

    April 21 Azteca America Dallas

    April 21 MTV New York Evening

    April 26 LATV New York Evening

    April 27Outdoor/Sportsman/World

    FishingNew York Evening

    May 2 - May 13Digital Content NewFronts

    May 16 NBC New York Morning

    May 16 FOX New York Afternoon

    May 17 ESPN New York Morning

    May 17 Univision New York Late Morning

    May 17 ABC New York Afternoon

    May 18 Turner New York Morning

    May 18 NCM New York Afternoon

    May 18 Mundo Max New York Afternoon

    May 18 CBS New York Afternoon

    May 19 The CW New York Morning

    May 19 NBCUniversal New York Afternoon

    Date Network Location Time

  • 10Reasons toBelieve inProgrammatic TV.

    T R U E P R O G R A M M A T I C T V

    W W W . A U D I E N C E X P R E S S . C O M

    Target Audiences, Not Sitcoms1Programmatic TV technology allows you to target your campaigns based

    on advanced data and audience profiles, way smarter than just age and


    Automation, Automation, Automation


    We are truly automated through and through, from data implementation

    to targeting to planning & buying to delivery, and even next-day reporting,

    we dont take the word automation lightly.

    TV is Better Than Ever in the Digital Age


    Pure programmatic combines the reach and scale of TV with the targeting

    of digital marketing. Scale and smarts on one screen youre totally

    geeking out right now, arent you?

    It Delivers with the Lights On7Impressions are always 100% guaranteed on all campaigns. You get

    exactly what youre promised and are never left in the dark.

    Its Totally Transparent3Your full-view metrics and insights are available on-demand so you know

    everything about how your campaign is running and can instantly adapt,

    rather than spending resources on pesky guessing games.

    Surpass Client Expectations8Flexibility is key and there are no surprises as your campaign airs.

    Something your clients will be happy about.

    The Plumbing is Now in Place4We spent a decade developing a cool Gateway server that hardwires into

    TV providers, creating the channel (see what we did there?) for digital

    technology in TV.

    A Fast Pass to the Finish Line9You can build a campaign in two minutes and get it on air within 48

    hours. Sometimes its better to be the hare than the tortoise.

    It Plays Nice in the Sandbox5The tech wires into the existing TV infrastructure to give you flexibility and

    speed we made the investment so you dont have to.

    Were Doing it Differently, but Were Still Doing it


    With the amount of viewer fragmentation, its a relief to know that

    television is still television. At the end of the day, it reigns supreme & is

    smarter than ever.

  • WTF Upfronts/NewFronts 05

    This years Upfronts will be the largest yet, with agency focused presentations beginning in early March and spanning April and May. While the Upfronts remain a festival of direct buying, this years event will be colored by the rise of programmatic TV.

    Both NBC Universal and FOX this year announced plans to offer some of its inventory on programmatic channels in February, ahead of this years upfronts. The move is a sign of a major shift for linear broadcasters who, to date, have only dabbled in programmatic. The International Data Corporation, which analyzes the Telecom industry, estimates that less than $1 billion of television inventory is available programmatically, a drop in the $70 billion broadcast bucket.

    Programmatic has caught on with digital publishers partly because it automates a process that once relied on human relationships and intuition, ironically the very bedrock of the Upfronts themselves. More importantly, programmatic also allows digital publishers to capitalize on something they have in spades: data.

    Crafting audience segments in digital is relatively easy, given the mountains of data publishers have on hand. Linear broadcasters would love to tap into the same efficiency, but the data capabilities of broadcasters arent yet on par with those of digital. As data collection technology evolves, programmatic is likely to claim a larger share of linear inventory.

    Meanwhile, linear broadcasters are working to colonize the digital space, taking their content over-the-top onto owned and operated platforms. As more users adopts they platforms, the lines between digital and linear blur. Programmatic has gained some traction with broadcasters on both sides of the equation with its promise of efficiency, leading some to speculate that it might soon snatch the crown from direct buying.

    Its interesting to see programmatic folded into the Upfronts, said John Sullivan, vp of platforms and strategy at NBCUniversal. Theyre testing the waters for


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