Why Many TV Networks Are Scrapping Pricey Upfront Spectacles

And pitching buyers in more intimate settings

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Discovery Communications used to hold one of the biggest events each upfront season, throwing a lavish presentation packed with big names like Oprah Winfrey. But the company began realizing that it ultimately wasn't getting much bang for its bucks. "It's really expensive to do a big gala, and we looked at the list of people who get into the upfront presentations, and the quality of people wasn't as good as it should be," said Joe Abruzzese, Discovery's president of advertising sales.

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