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Upfront Revamp Is DOA

The first meeting of NUDG -- the Network Upfront Discussion Group, formed to consider possible changes in the upfront process -- turned out to be its last.

The group, composed of about 40 representatives from broadcast networks, cable, advertisers and agencies, met for five hours on Thursday and concluded that they couldn’t come to a consensus to change the process at all.

“While not a perfect process, the current process is acceptable," Bob Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers, told reporters after the meeting.

Issues such as moving the upfront market to a different time of year and having a “closing bell” each night during market (to preclude talks from going all night) were discussed without resolution.
The idea of forming a committee to discuss such changes arose at the ANA’s TV Forum conference two months ago. Some buyers feel that the upfront would be better timed to the calendar year, with negotiations in the fall when advertisers have a more realistic idea about their budgets for the coming year. But at the meeting, Liodice said, there were different views.
So, they met, they talked and then they disbanded.