Believe it or not, the Upfronts — that yearly tradition in which the U.S. broadcast networks present their new shows to advertisers and their agencies in New York City, and hope to pre-sell the bulk of their ad inventory — is nearly upon us (NBC and Fox are May 16; ABC is May 17; CBS is May 18 and CW is May 19). In fact, the cable networks have already begun their Upfronts, starting with Nickelodeon on March 2.
So what can we expect this year? Pundits are saying that networks are likely to see CPM increases of over five percent. This would be a change for the broadcast networks, which have seen their CPM rates decrease in recent years (FOX cut its CPMs by as much as two percent last year, according to reports, thanks to losses on American Idol.)
But we can also expect digital extensions of these ad packages, showing up on places like the Snapchat messaging app and on the network’ streaming outlets.
Another interesting development: Because of an erosion of Nielsen-monitored audience ratings (more and more viewers are leaving TV sets behind and watching their shows on mobile devices and video-streaming services), major broadcast network FOX announced that it will offer advertisers an option to do deals based not on the traditional Nielsen ratings, but instead, based on how many members of a certain type of consumer group they can reach (e.g. first-time car buyers).
This is something cable companies have done in the past, and is likely just one step the networks will take in bringing their ad buying practice into the modern age.