ABC upfront has a little fun with Kimmel

kimmel.jpgMuch has been made about ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS taking a low-key approach to their upfront presentations this year. Still, ABC brought out Jimmy Kimmel for a few jokes in a reminder of what these events were like in past years.

Here are a few of Kimmel’s better lines for advertisers:

- This year, as you’ve noticed, we scaled back a lot. There’s no party, no food. ABC may be the worst date ever. We expect you to put out and we’re not even buying you a drink.

- We’ve decided to concentrate less on the afterparty and more on shows that aren’t ‘Cavemen.’

- By the way, there’s about a 40 percent chance you’ll see me at the Fox upfront on Thursday.

- Here at ABC we are very excited about both our new shows.

- TV sets are bigger than ever, kids are fatter than ever and gas has never been more expensive. We have the whole country on their couches right now. If we can’t sell them stuff, we should all be very ashamed of ourselves.

The yin and yang of TV ad pricing

shaw.jpgWhy have prime-time network TV advertising prices been so strong in the scatter market — up in the double digits — after a rather lackluster upfront in 2007?

ABC’s head of sales, Mike Shaw, offered a few answers for the discrepancy between the shorter term scatter market and the longer term upfronts.  But he said a lot of it can be blamed on networks selling advertising too cheaply in last year’s upfront.

Shaw said he’d rather see a far smaller gap in prices between the two markets. “I’d like to see less of a swing in the pendulum between the upfront market and the scatter,” he told reporters after ABC unveiled a very modest 2008-09 schedule.

The Upfronts are dead, long live the Upfronts

upfront2.jpgFor years we have interviewed media analyst/newsletter editor/industry maven Jack Myers about the television upfronts. We have tried to track him down at upfront parties, cocktail napkin in hand, to get his initial reaction on the new shows trotted out by the networks while he talks to the most senior executives. We have written up his forecasts and predictions on how many billions of advertising dollars the nets will say they have booked.

And now, in what may be the most definitive sign that more than 50 years of upfront fanfare has come to an end, Myers says he will no longer prognosticate on their outcome, according to an e-mail newsletter sent round today:

This year, I am not offering predictions nor will I report after-the-fact on network Upfront revenues. The Upfront is no longer a representative indicator of network performance and the information released by the networks is, at best, questionable. If a network ever actually reports poor performance in the Upfront, then we can be assured it was a disaster.

Flying blind into the upfronts?

drone.jpgOne thing you can bank on next week is that the TV networks won’t be showing off dazzling pilots of new shows at the upfronts, as we highlighted in a preview.

Executives have made no secret of the fact that pilots are costly, and, it seems, not all that useful. Already, NBC previewed their season with little more than a few very, very short clips. CBS, ABC and Fox aren’t expected to offer a whole lot more.

So what do advertising buyers think of this brave new world without pilots? Are they and their clients comfortable shelling out big bucks without seeing a full episode of a new comedy or drama.