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Summary:

Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Todd Juenger doesn’t believe digital media companies like YouTube, Yahoo and AOL can entice advertisers into committing huge portions of dollars all in one buying session, a la TV’s traditional upfront market.

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Will the major digital media companies succeed in creating a springtime advertising sales market on par with TV’s long-dominant upfront? At least one prominent research firm doesn’t believe so.

In his firm’s weekly briefing to media investors, Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Todd Juenger said premium-video-focused companies like Google, Yahoo and AOL lack the essential ingredients to sell out big portions of their commercial inventory at one time, a la traditional TV’s upfront.

Also read: TV nets wrap upfront week: “The biz still goes through us”

Juenger writes:

While the Newfronts are a laudable attempt to draw attention to the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on premium content, we believe they will fail to create a buying/selling dynamic like TV (at least for now), because either there is no scarcity, or the medium isn’t important enough to advertisers that they care if they get shut out, or both. (There is certainly no scarcity of ‘non-premium’ Internet video or traditional display inventory.)

“Does any advertiser really believe they need to commit now to their AOL spend for the year, so they can grab the inventory before it’s gone (and the price goes up)?” he added. “Or, if the AOL inventory does evaporate, will that hamstring their marketing plans for the year? We believe most advertisers will continue take their chances in the scatter market.”

On May 2, Google’s YouTube closed out a two-week bonanza of presentations to advertisers and their agencies by digital media companies called the Newfront. With the broadcast and cable television networks finishing their yearly dog and pony shows on Madison Avenue last week, it is the hope among digital media companies that in the ensuing weeks, when negotiations begin and advertisers start spending dollars on video inventory, they will enjoy a greater share of those media plans.


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  1. Juenger is clearly a guy who sits on the sidelines, analyzes and critiques without any real experience or inside knowledge. Plenty to gain for an advertiser here, especially at this early stage, with no risk what so ever.

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