Lotz describes the Upfront process as a way for broadcasters to sell themselves to advertisers. The prime reason for doing this is to make an impression on the advertisers before they decide what their budget for that next year will be. This is done through a grand event, filled with performances, famous star features, and lavish receptions that wrap up the show. As Lotz points out, these Upfront events are often difficult to study because they are often high-end advertisers looking to make the best deal with the best broadcaster. The main reason for these Upfront events is competition, which is driven by profit. The broadcaster wants the advertiser to advertise with them, and once they do, they can go straight to the bank.
The Upfront events have become increasingly popular with broadcasters, which shows the change in media culture in the United States. While few broadcasters used to hold Upfront events, now even the small cable networks are beginning to hold them. This shows the changing norms in television and the media industry in the United States. There is a struggle for power between the broadcasters, and a sense of failure when their Upfront event doesn't spark the most advertising dollars.
The Upfront events are different than creating, distributing, and exhibiting broadcast programming under a non-commercial mandate because the broadcasters at the Upfront aren't selling their show. Instead, they are selling the idea that, for example, "almost 70 percent of adults ages twenty-five to fifty-four are away from home eight to twelve hours a day". This in turn creates an awareness among the advertisers of when they should advertise and why, and with which company they should sign with. Another difference between the Upfront events and non-commercial mandates is the venue, decorations, entertainment, and famous "talent". The Upfront in a show - it must be the most memorable. For example, in 2004 when CBS held their Upfront presentation, it was the entertainment that everyone was talking about. This is what matters - providing the audience, aka the advertisers, with a show that no one else can compare to. This is competition, and that is what the Upfront is all about.