- Posted April 25, 2012 by
New York City, New York
ABC Advertisers Get to Meet Viewers Upfront and Personal at the 2012 ABC Upfront Rally
(c) April 25, 2012
Every year during the third week of May the Disney-owned American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network, along with all other major networks, find themselves in New York City for their annual Upfront meetings. The term ‘Upfront’ is used for these meetings because it is the event where advertisers can buy television commercial airtime for the upcoming Fall season ahead of actual airtime. Network executives are given millions of dollars to spend wining and dining the press and major advertisers during these events as they announce their Fall prime time schedules.
Last year, the ABC Upfront event did not quite unfold as ABC network executives would have liked. Soap Fans United, a group representing soap opera fans across the country, rallied across the street from Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center where the event was held. Fans gathered to show support for the cancelled soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live as they let advertisers know viewers were not going to support cheap, disposable, replacement programming.
Throughout the day fans were harassed by the NYC Police at the behest of ABC executives, repeatedly checking the permits the group obtained to legally assemble across from the Upfront event. As major advertisers made their way out of the event to move across the street to a planned social event they not only noticed the fans, they took pictures of them with their phone cameras. When then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons emerged, loud boos echoed up and down the NYC streets around Avery Fisher Hall.
This year, on May 15th the ABC Upfront event will be held once again at the Avery Fisher Hall. This year, fans will once again be rallying outside the Upfront event. They will be there to send an even stronger message to advertisers this year. Former ABC Daytime Television President Brian Frons will not be there and some attribute his departure as the direct result of viewer backlash. The One Life to Live replacement show, The Revolution, has been cancelled in the same quarter as its debut due to significantly low viewership and ratings numbers. For advertisers, this translates into lower demographic exposure to their products and services and far less bang for their advertising dollars. In contrast, the only remaining ABC soap opera, General Hospital, rumored to be on the chopping block, was recently given an unexpected reprieve after soap opera fans promoted viewership of the show and made enough noise to force a stay of execution.
The fans’ message will be loud and clear. Their money and loyalty will be following soap operas, regardless of where they air. If advertisers want consumer dollars, patronage, the loyalty of viewers, and a return on their advertising investments, they are not going to get it at the ABC network unless soap operas are an integral part of the ABC daytime lineup once again.
This year soap fans may be more than a thorn in the side of ABC at its 2012 Upfront event. From coast to coast mainstream news outlets are taking more and more interest in the story of soap fans and why soap operas matter as new articles hit the wires daily.
Two soap fan groups helping to organize the rally, Soap Fans United and Fans United Against ABC, are planning to have a much larger presence and voice at the rally than last year. They are joined by countless other soap fan groups in spreading the word about the rally. Rally merchandise such as tee shirts and mugs are being sold to offset some rally costs. A film documentary producer is planning to capture the rally as it unfolds. There are also plans to broadcast the rally live via web radio so those unable to attend the rally can feel a part of it.
If you are a soap opera fan in the greater New York City area or have the means to travel there, the Upfront Rally is going to be the place to be on May 15th. It will be the place to be for soap fans that day as ABC advertisers have the opportunity to meet viewers upfront and personal.
Author’s Note: To learn more about the ABC Upfront Rally, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/423296894350452/