Media Execs Weigh In On TV Upfront Season: Zenith CIO Anthony Ellis

Media Execs Weigh In On TV Upfront Season: Zenith CIO Anthony Ellis
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The 2018 television upfront season has officially wrapped up for another year.

With each network promising brand-new programs, imaginative content and non-stop entertainment, the slates were jam-packed.

But what did media agency executives make of the upfronts, those who the networks are essentially pitching to?

To find out, B&T had industry heavyweights 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 Zenith chief investment officer Anthony Ellis.

For Ellis, 2018’s upfronts presented industry full of change and challenges.

“What was clear from the 2018 upfronts is that in an extremely challenging environment due to shifting consumer behaviour and a rapidly changing local media landscape, is that television in Australia has a bright future.

“All networks are working quickly to adapt their business models not only to accommodate the immediate challenges but to have a clear, long-term strategy.

“Whilst individually they all have their unique strengths, the fact that they are now collaborating more than ever is a positive for the industry and importantly, advertisers,” said Ellis.

In terms of his favourite of the upfronts, Ellis picked SBS.

“From a content point of view, television across the board has a great mix of old and new content that will air in 2019 with some exciting innovation promised around sports coverage.

“SBS specifically continues to expand on its already impressive content line up with a very engaging and different offering to the rest of the market.”

When asked whether the upfronts needed to change in any way, Ellis touched on client partnerships.

“I think all the networks have done an amazing job at promoting their businesses through what is a very time consuming and costly process.

“If there was one area that would be good to see more of is how they have delivered innovation through client partnerships that delivered on business results.”

Ellis added that despite the hoo-ha, upfronts are still an integral marketing tool to the industry.

“[Upfronts] generate a lot of publicity and talk to a wide audience that includes the investment community, advertisers, agencies, creatives and internal staff.

“Due to the nature of the client solutions in today’s environment along with the rapidly changing capability of media companies we need to work closer than ever in order to deliver tailored client solutions.

“If you are waiting for the upfronts to plan the following year, you have missed the boat!

“The upfronts are great at creating excitement and publicity around the network and have a number of broader benefits beyond just talking to agencies.”

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