NUDG Fails to Budge Upfront

NEW YORK Following an all-day meeting here on Thursday at the Millenium hotel, the Network Upfront Discussion Group (NUDG) could not reach a consensus on how to change the upfront TV ad buying process.

The session was attended by about 40 executives from advertising and media agencies, trade associations, marketers and TV networks.

“While not a perfect process, the current process is acceptable,” said Bob Liodice, president of the Association of National Advertisers, who with O. Burtch Drake, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, organized the meeting. “That’s not to say that everybody is thrilled and satisfied, but there wasn’t sufficient consensus to change it. We decided the current process represents the most optimal approach.”

No further NUDG meetings are planned.

The 4A’s and the ANA yesterday released a list of attendees for the first joint meeting of NUDG. The group had been set up to address issues relating to productivity and efficiency of the television upfront buying season.

Issues including the possibility of a closing bell during upfront negotiations and the timing of the annual event and whether it should be moved to a different time or split into two separate terms were discussed during the meeting. Drake indicated that some points about the upfront were clarified for those attending, such as the fact that negotiations go on year-round and that the upfront is just the culmination of that process.

Representatives from leading advertisers such as Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer; broadcast networks such as Fox, ABC and CBS; cable giants such as Turner Broadcasting; various syndicators; as well as advertising and media agencies such as Carat, MindShare and OMD attended the meeting.

—with John Consoli

This story updates an item posted on April 28 with news from the NUDG meeting.