There also has been a lot of talk about digital media upfronts. But so far, these extended advertising commitments, known as “upfronts,” have not migrated into the culture of online ad-sales. “Why are digital upfronts so uncommon in Latin digital media?” According to Maria Boolori, a media buyer at Long Beach, CA, based Grupo Gallegos, much of the reason for the scarcity of digital upfront buys has to do with client awareness of the Latin online space and confidence in ROI: “With upfronts, you generally commit to a year's worth of advertising. When you're dealing with networks, it's easier to justify that commitment to the client, because the Hispanic networks are well-established,” says Boolori.
Marla Skiko, Executive VP at Starcom Media Vest Group, says that the whole whole concept of upfronts is falling out of favor with many clients: “I think even broadcast upfronts (General Market and Hispanic) are becoming less relevant as advertisers want more flexibility across platforms and on their own timing. Nobody wants digital on forced timing either as they are trying to move away from that for broadcast. But the idea of securing some inventory on a long term basis on the advertiser's terms still can be appealing. I think the term “upfront” can have some connotations that are outdated and perhaps less than ideal from a flexibility standpoint.”
Even so, Skiko says that the system does still have its merits: Given the rapidly changing nature of the digital environment, it may make more sense for certain types of buys on certain sites, like display buys on major Spanish sites where branding is the main goal. Performance-based buys (direct response driven) may make less sense to commit to early on as the players in that space change more rapidly and your buy is more likely to morph based on ROI metrics.”