As media and entertainment companies begin planning for their Upfront or NewFront presentations, there are a variety of considerations to keep in focus and help ensure these annual May events are deemed a success – both from within and outside of your organization.
As you begin the planning process, thinking about the following items might help guide your team’s efforts.
Choosing the right event partner(s) to support your Upfront or NewFront is a decision that can prove to be critical. Since there are a wide range of elements that go into events like these such as lighting, audio, A/V, staging, scenic, etc. it begs the question of whether you opt for a roster of shops (which means multiple points of contact) or a full service partner with expertise across the entire event services gamut.
Choosing your event company early can provide huge dividends, in particular if they can provide valuable POV’s at project kickoff for such things as venue selection, scheduling and budget tracking.
There’s no right answer. However, you may want to think about the following to aid in decision making.
- Does the event partner own most of the equipment needed or will they be sub-renting?
This is important for two reasons; first – do they have access to the gear? And second – are they familiar with it? Because if there’s a need at any point during the event to troubleshoot – you better hope they do.
- Does the event partner have streaming experience?
For events like NewFronts, it’s mission-critical the feed gets delivered to the IAB. This means you’ll want the event partner to be well versed in all things streaming such as potential firewall issues from the selected venue, encoding best practices, and most importantly, acknowledge that it requires a dedicated and experienced Encoding Engineer to monitor the livestream rather than a Production Assistant.
- Does the event partner have experience working with labor unions?
Since many venues in NYC have union requirements it’s absolutely critical an event partner be knowledgeable in the arena because there could be significant cost and scheduling implications otherwise.
Take Away: Measure Twice and Cut Once.
It may sound obvious but outlining goals is critical. While securing an iconic venue with seating capacity for 1,500 and an A-list comedian to perform might be a priority, it shouldn’t be the end all goal. Pageantry and entertainment value are certainly pillars for success, however, it’s paramount to maintain your company’s brand identity and ultimately deliver on the key desired messaging to your audience – both in person and online.
Take Away: Be sure to List Them.
Creating and working within a target budget from the onset is an effective way to maintain guard rails and a sense of realism during the planning process. Target is the operative word because as we all know the budget will shift in every direction based on a variety of factors such as the venue, talent, A/V, decor, fabrication, etc. It’s best to kick things off with a decent understanding of what is and what isn’t possible given your target.
Take Away: Start with “a” Number.
Do you have dedicated Creative, Event, Design, Marketing, Technology, Content and other essential team members available AND with bandwidth to help support the event? Maybe not – and if so that’s okay which just means you’ll need to entrust and rely on partners. But identifying this far upstream is key. Remember, there will be a need to steer the overall event look and feel, develop the creative content, identify what you might want to capture content wise from the event to leverage for future use, manage internal clients, liaise with and manage external vendors… plus manage tens of other items not anticipated or thought of off the bat.
Take Away: Assess & Enlist Early.
As trite and perhaps annoying as it is to hear, the early bird (usually) gets the worm. Events similar in scope can and often do successfully get pulled off under the shortest of timelines. However, Upfronts and NewFronts… take place in NYC… at the same time. That means there’s a chance the first choice of venues your CEO, President, or CRO thinks would be perfect is likely already booked. Similarly, securing the right agency partners, vendors and equipment that will bring your event vision to life might not be a possibility if someone else beats you to the punch.
Take Away: It’s Never Too Early.
Even though it is typically stressful and demanding, the planning process for Upfronts and NewFronts is all the more rewarding when the event is over and viewed as a success. There’s much to consider along the way and while it’s no doubt a rollercoaster of a ride, Broadcast Management Group is always up for the thrill. We have deep experience producing these types of events and look forward to lending our support.
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