According to a recent report, Facebook has been looking to recruit big veteran TV sellers. No, Facebook won't be running "Glee" or "Modern Family" episodes anytime soon. It has other stuff to sell: like viewers talking about TV shows.
Through the ages, TV has been a big target for new media platforms. Newspapers have been in the sightlines as well, yielding digital providers way better results.
TV is a different story. Many new video and other platforms have gone up against traditional TV networks and failed. They've then seen the strangest thing: TV's share of advertising increasing. Before you talk about cable networks being a big piece of the puzzle, remember that many of the biggest, most mature cable networks have been hit with familiar-looking viewer erosion that has been plaguing the broadcast networks for a long time.
It goes deeper. Media agency and TV sales executives continue to remind clients that TV still works as the big, splashy way to sell product and build brands - and that's the reason why the expected average price per thousand viewers is pegged to aggressively climb anywhere from 8% to 12%, depending on the network, during this upfront period.
So here comes Facebook, a social media platform reaching some 600 million people worldwide, as a big gate crasher at the upfront ball. And it has some extra, and perhaps unexpected, leverage: the endorsement of TV and media agency sellers.
Executives have been talking about how Facebook, Twitter, and others -- with their instant and deeply engaged social network users -- have been instrumental in keeping networks and programs top of mind. It make sense for Facebook to make the next step, luring TV-minded advertising executives to its camp, with the goal of going after some seven-figure, TV-like media deals.
But some facts bespeak perspective. CBS says, for example, that Facebook users' time only amounts to 25% of the time that regular CBS consumers spend with its network each month. Facebook aggregates 42 billion minutes from 151 million unique U.S users, compared with 210 million minutes from CBS's 240 million or so total viewers per month.
Still Facebook is big. How big? PBS big, that's how much. (Ah. PBS doesn't take regular advertising, right?). Yes, we get the picture. Facebook is still big and influential, perhaps more than many other digital platforms. Thus it needs to raise the bar, to distinguish itself to the bigger money in the room.
Are you impressed -- or do you need the impressions?