Association of National Advertisers president Bob Liodice took issue Friday with press reports that characterized the one-day industry conference on possible changes in the upfront process as a "failure."
About 40 representatives from various industry segments met Thursday and ultimately decided that the current process, while not perfect, worked pretty well. "Did the marketplace truly expect that this meeting was going to bring wholesale changes to the Upfront process? If so, then your expectations were, quite frankly, unreasonable," Liodice wrote in a statement he put on the ANA website Friday.
"The purpose of the meeting was to talk and share ideas about the alternative approaches to the "closing bell" and alternative timing of the Upfront negotiations--no more, no less.
"Put into a historical context, this is a major step forward. The industry, in recent years, has not collaborated to discuss anything. So to bring the industry together to have a rational discussion was a significant -- and a historical step."
The idea for the meeting was proposed at the ANA TV Forum two months ago. Representatives from the major networks, cable, syndication, advertisers and agencies participated. "We did take a stab at evaluating alternatives," said Liodice. "The environment permitted everyone to say their peace. I, for one, learned a few things along the way that represented legitimate, logical arguments as to why certain alternatives would be impractical or impossible to implement. I know others in the room felt similarly."
"In conclusion, the NUDG (Network Upfront Discussion Group) meeting was a productive exchange. I hope it sets a precedent for how the industry can come together and have an efficient dialogue about our mutual issues and opportunities."