Kelly Scott Madison



What's next for broadcast television? This year's Upfront season provides clues.

There is no better period to assess the state of media platforms than now, because there is arguably no more important time in advertising than just after the Upfront season. The TV Upfront is an annual, one-time event during which the broadcast TV networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC) can “advertise” to potential buyers and clients, showcasing their upcoming fall prime programming and network changes. 

Over the years, cable networks joined the showcase and the extravaganzas became increasingly celebratory. Though the economy has waxed and waned and recent years have brought arguments against the need for an Upfront season in a rapidly changing marketplace, the industry still uses this time to reveal valuable research and consumer insights. This year, the network showcases did not disappoint and amidst musical performances (e.g., the smash-hit Hamilton), sizzle reels and stars presenting their series premieres, new data was revealed designed to convince agencies and clients to purchase TV, TV and more TV. While each network presented an exciting 2016-2017 season, KSM is focusing on each network’s response to growing consumer demand for anytime, anywhere viewing and the increasing threat to the lucrative, live traditional television platform.

In recent years, the Digital Content NewFront presentations (digital companies’ version of the television Upfronts) have served as a podium for counter arguments to television networks’ single-platform story. Attempts to steal share from TV’s advertising dollars make tensions...

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