AOL Pulls Out Ads From TV Upfronts

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If there ever was a sign that AOL’s access business is in an identity crisis, this is it (the AOL-optimist’s view: upfronts don’t matter anymore): it has pulled out of the TV upfront advertising market, undoing deals with some broadcasters and leaving cable networks wondering whether it will be airing spots for the start of the fall TV season.
AOL spent $136 million on broadcast advertising and another $100 million on cable during 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That data doesn’t indicate how much of AOL’s ad spending was booked during the upfront.
AOL’s reasoning: “We are revamping our creative strategy, as often happens in the summer,” she said. AOL “thought it best to step back before making such a large commitment upfront.”
But again, this might explain AOL and others sitting out on upfronts: “Changes in the 2006 upfront signal discontent with the annual ritual on the part of some buyers, who are trying to gain flexibility by buying time later. Others have expressed distaste for a system that pushes them to spend billions of dollars over the course of a few days”.

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