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Upfronts week offers the chance for many client-agency or client-agency-media partner meetings to occur--gatherings where everybody is in the room together setting some baselines for the coming weeks ahead.
The New York City-based Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau reported that last year's cable TV growth during the Upfronts was 4.3 percent, bringing total volume to $10.2 billion.
While cablers' upfront venues may not be as lavish as the digs from which broadcasters are wooing advertisers during TV's traditional look-at-me week, the upstarts do have something that seemed unheard of only a decade ago: a place at the table.
As buyers bid farewell to the casts of three long-running programs (Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory and Supernatural) during upfronts, they didn't see anything from the new crop of shows that would likely take their places, or become the next freshman breakout a la This Is Us.
Bader says ABC will probably deliver just one or two new dramas and four rookie comedies before the upfronts -making for the shortest pilot screening session ever.
Caption: Disney's Rita Ferro at her company's upfront.
The upside for the networks is that the money spent in the upfronts probably won't go down this year.
During upfronts week, presenters ultimately need to focus less on impressing buyers, who interact with their sales teams regularly, and more on wowing their clients, many of whom will be getting their first up-close look at the new and expanded companies.
"There was a lot of talk about multimedia packages in the upfront, but the reality was they hadn't developed them fully," says Jeff Ratner, senior partner at Mindshare Interactive.
With that in mind, here are three things buyers should keep in mind as they head to the upfronts this year.
Still flushed from the standing ovation he received for dancing the cha-cha onstage with a scantily clad ballroom dancer, McPherson indicated the upfronts aren't really the place for nitty-gritty network strategy.
It's a year-round process, but we really start planning for the upfronts in February.
The network upfronts moved with surprising speed last week, with ABC, CBS and Fox wrapping up all their upfront sales, and UPN and the WB well on their way.
But the Alphabet won't be the ugly step-sister it was at last year's upfronts, thanks to runaway hit "Desperate Housewives" and strong-performing "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Lost."