As it has for many decades, financial giant Bank of America will have a presence at this year’s UpFront. But having recently changed to a calendar year for planning purposes, BOA will be focused mainly on selecting the most appropriate publishing partners.

BOA’s agency, Publicis GroupeConnect, decided that the UpFront planning model “just wasn’t suiting our needs our needs anymore as a business,” Video Investment Lead Jenny Schauer explains in this interview with Beet.TV.

She also offers her encouragement for the audience-targeting consortium OpenAP while pointing out some early shortcomings.

With regard to the UpFront, “This year we actually decided to take the leap of faith and make the move to calendar UpFront planning. It’s a pretty big shift,” Schauer says.

Following the traditional broadcast planning model “wasn’t allowing us to be as strategic as we could because we had to make pretty big and sizable decisions in the TV space before we had any idea who our audience was going to be for the next year, what our products were going to be.”

This had resulted in “force fitting” things into plans that didn’t address BOA’s total business needs. Moving to calendar planning gives BOA the opportunity to get briefed at the same time as all other channel providers, according to Schauer.

Now it will use the UpFront week to identify key partners. “At the end of the day, we decided that’s really the value for us.”

Because Publicis GroupeConnect has been moving toward audience-based TV buying, Schauer is encouraged by OpenAP and the leadership being shown by founding members Fox, Turner and Viacom. “It’s a small step but it’s a very important step,” she says.

What’s tricky about OpenAP in its early stages is that it’s “essentially a consortium of three separate teams,” with no centralized hub.

“It’s streamlined in that you can use one audience, but it still goes to each individual publisher, gets planned using their tools and you have to go to each publisher with your contract,” Schauer says.

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.