The process of Upfront presentations to the advertisers is meant to announce and display a network’s upcoming fall season and present the content to advertisers in hopes that they will purchase spots around the programming. The network in a sense has to sell itself all over again and characterize the image and feeling that the programs of the fall will create for the network’s audience. In many ways what they seek to do is come off in the most positive light possible and create buzz about their upcoming season. For advertisers, this is enticing but they are not naïve to the high rate of failure in new shows so they are cautious in what they choose to invest in.
This culture of “selling yourself” to get advertisers creates a competitive nature among the networks and turns getting advertisers into almost a game to be more profitable. Networks rely on these Upfront presentations to account for a very large part of their advertising revenue and the success of their shows. In a non commercial mandate system this selling yourself to the advertisers would be more directed at the audience. The need for filling spaces with commercials in order to fund the show and network success is something that doesn’t exist. The competitive money making culture that comes with a commercial mandated system just isn’t as important. Funding comes in from other areas and therefore advertisers play a much smaller role in the media system in general.
In reading Lotz’s article it is clear that the commercial role of Upfront presentations is something that networks rely heavily on in our media system. Without advertisers their upcoming fall season is less likely to draw viewership and more likely to fail. However, ultimately, it is the content of the shows that will draw viewers and the best chance a network has at being successful in any given season is to be the most talked about. This will draw both advertisers and viewers creating the perfect situation for success in a commercially mandated system.