FOR THIS YEAR'S UPFRONT, DO YOU PLAN TO SPEND MORE, LESS OR THE SAME AS LAST YEAR?
While advertisers' plans for the upfront do not indicate a surge of confidence, neither do they signal a dramatic retreat. The majority are planning to take the same cautious and conservative approach that most advertisers have followed since the ad recession began in 2001, with 59 percent of respondents indicating that they would spend the same in the upfront this year as they did last year. Among all respondents, 22 percent indicated plans to spend more, and 18 percent said they would spend less.
Of note was the entertainment/publishing/services category, with responses all over the map. This perhaps reflects the turbulent nature of entertainment advertising, with some parts of the category booming (electronic gaming) and others wilting (music).
The survey showed retail clients were the most optimistic, with 40 percent saying they will spend more in the upfront. More than 30 percent of entertainment/publishing/services, e-business/computers/technology and food/beverage clients indicated they will increase their upfront spending. One-third of respondents in the hard-hit telecommunications sector said they will allocate less. In nine of the 10 categories, more than half of respondents indicated their upfront spending will be flat. The only exception was entertainment/publishing/services, which split its vote equally: one-third said they will increase spending, one-third said they will spend less, and one-third indicated they will spend the same.
Of those planning to increase spending, respondents said their upfront budgets will rise an average of 30 percent over 2001. Financial-services clients who plan to increase spending projected the highest increase. Those spending less, however, plan to spend considerably less, a decrease in upfront spending of 42 percent. Clients in the entertain ment/publishing/services industries projected the largest decrease, 88 percent.
Last year, approximately $7 billion was spent in the upfront, with most estimates for this year's spending calling for a low single-digit increase.