TV Upfronts: 5 Takeaways From the ABC Presentation
Paul Lee talks schedule flow, while Jimmy Kimmel calls ad buyers "a--holes" and Rebel Wilson wins them over.
ABC seemed to win over ad buyers early with a funny taped Scandal spoof featuring Kerry Washington, Jimmy Kimmel and Disney-ABC Television Group president and good sport Anne Sweeney. But it was the network's five-minute clip of creator Adam F. Goldberg's autobiographical comedy, The Goldbergs, that received the best audience reaction at the upfronts thus far -- and Rebel Wilson's in-person introduction for her star vehicle, Super Fun Night, proved that she could be a Kimmel-in-waiting.
1. ABC is NOT a TV network. Sweeney opened the network's Tuesday afternoon upfront presentation by telling media buyers gathered at Avery Fisher Hall that ABC really isn't one of those legacy media companies in decline. “ABC has never been a traditional media company, from the beginning ABC has been an innovator,” she told the packed theater. Disney-ABC has been an innovator in the digital and app space, but it's also a convenient time to talk up all of those other delivery systems thereby diverting attention from the network's sub-par 18-49 TV ratings. Sweeney ticked off a flurry of initiatives including the just-announced Watch ABC authenticated app, which allows viewers to live stream the network on smart phones, tablets and computers. It's currently available in New York and Philadelphia via ABC-owned stations, and will expand to six additional ABC stations in the summer with the inclusion of more station groups by the fall. The Watch ABC app follows the launch of the Watch Disney app, which Sweeney pointed out has notched 14 million downloads.
2. ABC is No. 1 in a Lot of Metrics. Sure, not in the demo that that matters most to the Madison Avenue audience: adults aged 18-49. In that demo, the net is expected to round out the season in fourth place. But no matter. According to ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee and ABC sales president Wang, ABC is No. 1 among upscale viewers, No. 1 among women 18-49 and the No. 1 brand in television. "Five or 10 years ago, that wouldn't have mattered," Lee noted from the stage. "In a world of choice, it is the key competitive advantage."