Networks may struggle to meet upfront expectations

•More measurement options. Ad prices have been based on metrics such as live audience ratings that report how many people watch a show, commercial ratings that tally how many people watch the ads, and a measurement of viewers who watch the show, or just how many watch the ads, on DVR playback.

This week, ABC added another tool to the mix. It will now offer an advertising value index that lets marketers weigh various metrics — such as income, education or engagement level — of those viewing its shows. Marketers will be able to home in on attributes that are most important to their brands.

•Many advertising platforms. While TV sales remain the major focus of the upfront, networks are increasingly pushing their other ad platforms, such as the Web, mobile phones, even old-fashioned billboards. "The cross-platform element is absolutely critical," says Steve Calder, chief media officer for ad-buying company MediaHub from Mullen. "Virtually every brand that we're negotiating on behalf of is doing more than just the linear TV."

•More product placement. To get around the DVR threat, many networks are offering expansive deals for brands to integrate their products into the TV shows. NBC, for instance, will incorporate two General Motors cars into the new drama My Own Worst Enemy, which stars Christian Slater.

Contributing: Theresa Howard

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