Media Entrepreneur Wants to Help TV Industry Host Virtual Upfronts
Jack Myers is a ubiquitous presence in the advertising community. Now he wants to become an even bigger part of the business.
Myers, a former CBS executive who now operates a consulting and content business known as MediaVillage, is eager to help TV companies stage “upfront” presentations that can be streamed to audiences and clients around the world, a service he thinks is likely to be in greater demand. Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus have prompted A+E Networks, AMC Networks and Fox News Channel to scrap advertisers showcases scheduled for March, leaving them to either make presentations in smaller groups or via digital video.
“There is a belief that what is implemented this year will probably be of use for many years to come,” Myers says in an interview.
He plans to unveil http://www.virtualupfront.com, a hosting site that will allow media companies to live-stream events to a broad array of constituents, without invoking the hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs that come along with the events that have been de rigueur for decades. His services would include maintaining content archives; hosting smaller events including executive sessions and webinars; and offering on-demand access to upfront showcases.
For decades, TV networks have spent heavily to wine and dine Madison Avenue – and lure billions of advertising dollars to their coffers. The glitzy events they hold each year draw Hollywood, Wall Street and Madison Avenue to New York for a week centered around the possibilities of TV advertising. But the events they hold in places like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall are time consuming and require months of coordination between executives, producers, studios and actors.
Myers is betting, of course, that the TV companies, already skilled at video distribution, won’t take on the task themselves.
He says he was planning to unveil a large suite of services next year, but felt recent events made his offer relevant in the current moment.
“The major media companies, the major networks have been live-streaming their upfront content for several years now. It’s a natural transition, and several companies have moved away from the traditional presentations to more customized, personalized efforts,” says Myers. If successful, he believes his venture could be “the home for the industry to come together around the upfront.”
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