The "television upfront" is the term used when networks sell advertising time for the coming season's shows. An advertiser will commit to buying a particular amount of commercial time and then pay much closer to the show's airing in the fall. With everyone still unsure of whether GM and Chrysler will end up in bankruptcy, both advertisers -- who spent a combined $2.7 billion last year -- will need to pay in cash for their commercial time buys.

Soon after GM shrunk its marketing budget by $800 million and laid off 20% of its marketing and communications staff, the phrase "very concerned" was uttered from one executive to describe doing upfront deals with GM. TV networks would undoubtedly be among the last in line for money when restructuring, although they would have time to sell the ad space, it would probably be for a reduced amount.

However, if GM and Chrysler were forced to do cash-in-hand deals for the upfront this would not only be the worst time for them to need to engage in major cash outlays, it would also hinder their marketing pushes at about the time everyone is expecting praying things will be turning around with the economy.

[Source: Ad Age]

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