TORONTO — It’s nearly half a year since the upfronts, the annual season where television companies tout their upcoming content slate in order to lock up advanced ad sales.
But Stuart Garvie is still having nightmares about the process.
The CEO of the world’s largest media buying agency, GroupM, in Canada says the process, which happens in his patch as well as in the US, says the upfront process is broken.
“It doesn’t work. I think it’s crippling the industry,” in this video interview with Beet.TV:
Prices: “It’s fine in a market where supply is growing and there’s plenty of supply for the scatter market. What actually happens is, and it’s happened this year, most of the inventory’s been sold too cheap.”
Timing: “It’s a bit of a false process as well because we have to hurry up our clients who actually don’t want to approve the fall in June but are forced to in order to get cheaper rates. We’re finding our clients want to deploy their money later and later, and we have this false date in June where we have to spend all our money by.”
Context: “(Broadcasters) are too focused on selling programs. The programs are a vehicle to get to audience. We talk now about audience buying as if it’s something new. It’s not new. We always bought television to access audiences. We need to get away from the focus on programs, which then gets away from the focus on upfront.”
Garvie suggests changing the upfronts process to provide a more rigorous view of price inflation and deflation in line with supple and demand metrics.