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Verklin Touts Upfront Revamp

7/21/2003 5:02 AM Eastern

Just when it appeared that talk about the upfront was done for another year,
along comes an ad-agency executive to put discussion of that annual ad-sales
bazaar back in the spotlight.

Carat North America CEO David Verklin -- since last month, also regional CEO
for Aegis Group’s newly formed Aegis Media -- has come up with what could be
dubbed a road map for the first change in the upfront business model in
decades.

But like the U.S. road map in the Middle East, it will be tough to implement,
other industry executives on both the buying and selling ends said.

Verklin, a longtime critic of the current upfront setup, has suggested in
informal talks with other major media entities that the broadcast upfront be
moved toward an August-September timing and the infamous late-night bargaining
over pizza and fast food be done away with.

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s new CEO, Sean Cunningham, said the
Verklin proposal was inspired as a way to give media buyers more leverage.
Looking back at years of upfront negotiations, he added, few that have favored
the buying side.

Cunningham said, "Cable can only benefit from a buying and selling
environment that best serves the objectives of our clients. CAB is supportive of
timing that’s in synch with advertisers’ overall business-planning
process."

September