Normally, most media buyers and sellers are hunkered down in upfront-only mode this time of year, but the annual rite of spring is being upstaged by another battle: how to untangle the contractual legalese surrounding General Motors.
Media sellers are scrambling to figure out where they stand as GM goes through Chapter 11 proceedings, potentially leaving in its wake a slew of unpaid bills. TV ad-sales execs at national broadcast networks, cable companies and ad rep firms are waiting to hear if, and when, they’ll get paid by the car giant, which even now is airing a new TV ad campaign. “No one wants to be caught without a chair when the music stops,” says one senior cable executive.
The car companies are top of mind, but they follow a long list of advertisers that have recently struggled to meet their financial commitments: Washington Mutual, KB Toys, Circuit City and 1-800-Mattress, to name a few.
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