Networks hardly mention cross-platform and OOH during upfronts

Published on: 2015-02-05

According to Mediaweek:

Agencies and advertisers expecting the broadcast networks to talk more about cross-platform ad opportunities, particularly out-of-home offerings, during their upfront presentations were a bit disappointed. While NBC showed a few examples at its “NBC Universal Experience” walk-through exhibit, only CBS actually discussed its out-of-home options at all. CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves himself touted the company’s out-of-home assets, telling the audience that by the end of this year, CBS will operate some 12,000 digital screens in the U.S and overseas.

Not only did the other networks not address OOH, but Fox Broadcasting sales president Jon Nesvig—while touting Fox’s ratings win in the prime-time TV season among adults 18-49 and 18-34—even poked fun at his broadcast rival when he quipped that “we can’t help you with billboards in South America. You have to go back to CBS for that.”

Our take:

The networks are slowly starting to pay more attention to alternative and out-of-home media (including digital signage, of course).  First, CBS bought SignStorey for a tidy sum, and next, NBC announced that they would hold an upfront for the digital signage networks in their portfolio. For all that, though, outdoor, out-of-home and anything that's not TV continues to be little more than an aftertought for most -- and a joke for some, as the above quote by the clearly clueless FOX exec indicates.

Of course, money will change all of that, and industry pundits and detractors alike are looking forward to the first results announced by CBS and NBC, though they probably won't come for some time.  Should early CBS Outernet results look good, CBS may choose to expand the network or acquire others, which would send a clear signal to the rest of the industry.  Unfortunately, the word is still out on the success of NBC's previous upfront, which probably indicates that it wasn't a smash success (for better or worse).

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