No Surprise: Facebook Wants TV's Ad Money Right Now

by , May 24, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Advertisers: The buying and selling part of the upfront is commencing, and Facebook wants your TV money.

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?

0 comments on "No Surprise: Facebook Wants TV's Ad Money Right Now".

  1. Mark Walker
    commented on: May 24, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.

    Let's start talking ACTIONS, and then I'll be impressed!

  2. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct
    commented on: May 24, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.

    Ah, another online service desperately seeking a share of TV's ad dollars but without anything useful to offer. (Google's been trying this one for years - and that led to a strategically unfocused GoogleTV this year.)

    What's completely lost on the web efforts is that TV is the advertising antithesis of what the have to offer. As noted in this blog post, the web shatters audiences into billions of tiny fragments (http://wp.me/pU7xa-Gl). TV, on the other hand, gathers audience fragments into coherent mass marketable units where it's cost effective for an advertiser to reach them.

    Further, TV uniquely reaches people with NEW messages - new products, new ideas. But the Web is only valuable AFTER consumers know why they should care to search for your product - and Facebook is even worse here.

    So which would you prefer? A highly fragmented medium where you can't reach out with new products or ideas OR a mass audience vehicle that causes big change, fast?

    Me, I'm sticking with TV. Because nothing causes market growth faster than TV. Nothing.

  3. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein
    commented on: May 24, 2011 at 1:02 p.m.

    A recent WebTrends survey (Jan 2011) of display advertising on Facebook across 20 vertical categories reveals an average CTR of .065% (1-in-1538), an average CPC of fifty-six cents, and an average CPM of thirty-six cents.

    Anybody with an ounce of media sales experience would look at this data and conclude that display ads on Facebook are absolutely worthless. Otherwise, why are they only $.00036/each?

    Facebook doesn't need "big veteran TV sellers" they need something worth buying.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: May 24, 2011 at 1:41 p.m.

    All of the above plus more like saddened that FB would be considered. More blab than fab.

  5. Brian Ludwick from Private
    commented on: May 25, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.

    There is little worth in a single $.00036 ad unit because successful display advertising on FB (much like spam) relies on a long tail strategy, which differs from TV's model. Low response rates aggregated across millions of members will yield enough value to perpetuate the cycle.

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