More Confident MTV Moves Upfront to April

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MTV, encouraged by improved ratings numbers, is moving its upfront presentation from an avant-garde February to a more mainstream date in late April.

For the past two years, MTV, has been among the earliest networks to try to attract the attention of media planners and buyers in advance of the upfront advertising market, during which cable channels sell more than half their commercial inventory.

At the time, the network was searching for new strategies to remain relevant with younger viewers, pitching research and an adjusted programming approach.

Last year, MTV held its upfront on Feb. 2 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. The event was attended by stars of the successful Jersey Shore and the soon-to-be-canceled Skins, as well as Justin Bieber. Bruno Mars performed and buyers and planners got their look at the acclaimed scripted show Awkward and were told about the return of Beavis & Butt-Head.

Most cable networks make upfront presentations during March and April.

For 2012, MTV has scheduled its upfront presentation for April 26. The network declined to say where the event will be held or provide other details.

According to a spokesman, "In early 2010, we were eager to communicate the results of our reinvention, millennial focus and programming filter to the marketplace and decided to go out head to get that message out in a less cluttered environment."

The network says its new approach worked. "In the last two years, our overall ratings have grown nearly 30% and our primetime '10 Spot' audience has nearly doubled," the spokesman said. "With the marketplace now well aware of our reinvention, we decided to return to a more traditional upfront calendar in 2012 so that we're front and center during the key upfront consideration period."

After MTV holds its presentation, A+E Networks is the only cable programmer that will have an event in New York prior to the broadcast upfront week, which starts May 14.

Other cable networks have schedule presentation during that week, including ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and, most recently, USA Network.