‘How do you go ahead and plan?’ Splitting TV’s upfront deal-making amid Coronavirus concerns is far from clean-cut

TV advertising’s annual multimillion dollar upfront deals are unlikely to move en masse to a calendar-year model, and that may make a mess of the whole market, especially for advertisers that are newer to advance buying. On June 10, the Association of National Advertisers called for the upfront to switch to a calendar-year model, under which deals would take effect on Jan. 1 and run through Dec. 31. The move is meant to give advertisers until the fourth quarter to assess how much money they are willing to commit to spend on TV and streaming advertising over the following year. “By the time you are entering the fourth quarter of the year, you would have a fairly decent idea of what you are going to be spending next year and how you are planning your activities next year,” said Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar, who is among the advocates for moving to a calendar-year model that would also align better with many upfront advertisers’ own corporate fiscal calendars.

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