Media Execs Weigh In On TV Upfront Season: Starcom Australia CEO Toby Barbour

Media Execs Weigh In On TV Upfront Season: Starcom Australia CEO Toby Barbour
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The upfront season may have wrapped up, however, media execs in adland are still wrapping their heads around the plethora of new content and programming.

With each network promising jam-packed slates for 2019, B&T wanted to find out what media agency executives made of the upfronts, those who the networks are essentially pitching to.

So, we’ve called in industry heavyweights to weigh in on the upfronts, and discuss what worked, what didn’t and how important the events are to adland.

We’ll be pumping out the industry responses over the coming days.

Today, we hear from Starcom Australia CEO Toby Barbour.

In terms of his top choice from the upfronts, Barbour said there was a clear winner; Nine.

For Barbour, Nine “had a complete story inclusive of clear business direction with scale and diversity of assets in the future, quality of content inclusive of sport, plus 9 Galaxy, 7 million UIDs on BVOD, and Powered support to create premium brand experiences.

In terms of the programming slates, Barbour said his pick was “Nine for mainstream audience demos, however, SBS is very compelling with great depth and breadth for their audience.”

Asked which of the upfronts missed the mark, Barbour claimed, “No networks missed the mark completely, but some had stronger messaging and a clear vision.

“They were all on brand for their position in market.”

Like the previous media execs, Barbour disagrees the upfronts are extravagant and over the top, instead labelling them as vital to adland.

He said: “With the speed of change impacting how consumers engage content and brands, I think it’s incredibly important to understand the total landscape to create value for our clients.”

Though he added, “Like any event, concise clear messaging on brand and on time, getting the timing right to tell the story is key.”

In terms of yearly planning and weight of the upfronts on this, Barbour said: “Ideally, we are planning ahead than the upfronts season, however, they are certainly a relevant input into understanding strength of audience and content on what platforms for brands to design their experience.

“Media planning with clients will always happen as it’s curated to the client business cycle, customer experience and/or product lifecycle.”

Looking ahead, Barbour said he was most excited about “The rise of SBS”.

Also, have a read of IPG Mediabrands’ Magna MD Victor Corones, Zenith CIO Anthony Ellis and Blue449 head of investment Lucie Jansen’s thoughts on the upfront season.

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