Everything You Ever (Never?) Wanted to Know About the Upfronts

Alex interviews Amanda about what the Upfronts are and their role in the television business.

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Lotz, A. D.  (2007). “How to Spend $9.3 Billion in Three Days: Examining the Upfront Buying Process in the Production of US Television Culture.”  Media, Culture and Society 29.4: 549-67.

This article investigates on the upfront buying process in the production of U.S. television culture. The overwhelmingly commercial television industry in the U.S. relies on the sale of commercial time to support the production and distribution costs of nearly all the television content watched by the country’s viewers. It uses observation of a media buying agency during the 2005 upfront buying process, and interviews with media buyers and planners to explain and analyze the importance of the upfront buying process to the cultural production of the U.S. television industry.

Lotz, A. D. (2007).  “The Promotional Role of the Network Upfront Presentations in the Production of Culture.”  Television & New Media 8.1: 3-24.

This article explores the Upfront presentations made by United States broadcasters to the media-buying community each year to analyze the complicated economic and cultural functions of promotional processes that occur before programs ever reach the viewing audience. The analysis draws from observation of Upfront presentations, triangulated with analysis of trade press articles and interviews, to present a comprehensive examination of this component of promotion within the circuit of cultural production. Examining the promotional activities that occur before programming reaches audiences illustrates the dual client nature of the United States commercial television industry, and the different strategies evinced indicate the need to theorize internal promotion distinctly from the pro- motion of texts and networks to audiences. Additionally, the variant promotional strategies used by different networks in this internal venue reveal institutional priorities in audience composition and brand differentiation among networks.