Upfronts: Digital Spending Could Double

YouTube “ain’t getting it done” in terms of online advertising models, said ESPN’s president of marketing and sales Ed Erhardt at a TV Advertising Upfront Summit put on by Advertising Age. “Most of the advertising, in the video environment on the web, doesn’t work. It pisses off the users.”

Advertising Age Television Upfronts SummitMerrill Lynch estimates that digital spending at the traditional spring rite for networks, press and advertisers called “the upfronts” could account for 5 percent of all deals, according to AdAge. That would be up from 2 to 3 percent, or less than $300 million, last year. Hey, half a billion dollars could really help out with those bandwidth bills!

The video of Erhardt’s comments offer an intriguing and seemingly candid look into the online strategy at ESPN.

Another interesting example of network thinking came from MTV’s Courtney Holt. He described a shift in gears from an initially video-heavy online strategy:

“We had to hit the reset button,” he said. Today, the philosophy is “let’s do something really creative and figure out how to maximize it.” An online property coming out of a TV company doesn’t have to look like TV on the web.

It’s good to hear that the networks are just as befuddled as the independent producers when it comes how to make enough from ads to pay for the content.