After skipping its upfront event in 2016, A+E Networks is planning to invite media buyers to the Time Warner Center to hear its pitch for the 2017-18 season.
The event, set for March 21, will be designed to talk about ways in which A+E can help marketers beyond selling them 30-second commercials, according to Peter Olsen, executive VP for ad sales at A+E.
A+E is inviting a smaller crowd of more senior buyers. The presentation will have less of a focus on the new programming being offered by its networks, including A&E, History and Lifetime.
"One of the things we're going to market with is if you're going to innovate, innovate with people you've known and trusted for a long time," Olsen said.
A+E Networks in January launched its own full-service ad agency, The Bridge, which can handle storytelling analytics and distribution. Last year it launched a branded content studio.
"What we keep hearing from everyone out there is they're all a little confused and overwhelmed in the data space. They're all a little confused and overwhelmed in the content space. There just isn't an answer," Olsen said.
"They're disenchanted with some of the Facebook stuff, especially when they hear the data is questionable. And they're not sure what to do with Snapchat yet. But they keep seeing traditional media erosion, whether print or broadcast. There's just a lot of pressure to innovate and who are you going to innovate with."
Olsen notes that 4 or 5 years ago, the solution to every marketing problem was to buy more 30-second spots. That was an option when viewership was growing. Now, other solutions are needed.
"If you really think broadly enough, it's changing the way we're deploying head count and resources," he said.
At its presentation, A+E will also be talking about its new partnership with the National Women's Soccer League, whose games will be televised by Lifetime.
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