MediaVest: Upfront looks better than last year


MediaVest Worldwide president of U.S. operations Mel Berning sees "a better [upfront]
market ahead of us than last year," due to a healthier economy.

That was his message to the Upfront Summit in New York, an annual look at the
advertising climatem sponsored by Crain Communications Inc.

Declining to "put a number on the table," he said, "There's a lot of room"
between the $8 billion network-television upfront of two years ago and last
year's $7 billion or so.

MediaCom Worldwide executive vice president Donna Speciale -- who described the
economy as still in "a very fragile stage" -- blasted broadcasters for "taking the
easy way out" and opting for newsmagazines and reality shows as low-cost
quick fixes.

Berning agreed that the networks have relied on stopgap moves that are "very friendly to
the bottom line."

ABC Television Network executive VP and general sales manager
Cynthia Ponce accepted ABC's share of the blame, adding, "We should've had
something [ready] behind [Who Wants to Be a