First Mobile Upfront in New York

Still waiting for the year of mobile advertising to arrive? It’s been a decade in the making, but according to the organizers of the first Mobile Upfront event, to be held in New York on March 16, that year has arrived.

The daylong event, billed as a contrast to the hard sell of the television upfront, consists mostly of presentations and discussion panels, with a companion expo showing the latest in mobile technology. So any danger of confusion with the commerce-focused TV upfronts is remote.

Nonetheless, according to Jumptap CMO and founder of the Mobile Upfront, Paran Johar, the event will represent “the first big move from education to commercialization” in the mobile advertising space.

The potential in the area is significant. Research firm eMarketer recently projected that U.S. spending on mobile advertising will rise from a total of $416 million in 2009 to over $1.5 billion by 2013. Even the dire year for advertising spending that was 2009 saw expenditure on mobile advertising rise by 30 percent from it’s 2008 total of $320 million.

The Mobile Upfront event, with which Adweek is a media partner, will feature panels led by Aegis, Havas, Interpublic Group, MDC Partners, Omnicom Group and WPP Group, each spelling out its plans for mobile advertising.

According to the event Web site,, all sides of the mobile ecosystem will be in attendance. Representatives from brands will join the discussions and creative executives will present what is working in mobile and what is not.

The event takes place at the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts in Lower Manhattan.