TV's Iffy Forecast: Possible Big Strike Plus Alarmingly Bad Economy
In the midst of a terrible economy, with TV ad revenues trending down, and media stocks getting hammered, what do we have to look forward to? More drama, but not more answers.
There is perhaps another big harmful strike on the horizon, this one from the actors' union, Screen Actors Guild. Peter Chernin, president and COO of News Corp., says talks between producers and the union are going "horribly," and that producers have offered their last proposal.
Let's imagine where this would get us. For example, a three-month strike might plunge TV networks and stations into a deeper abyss than they went into this past year with the writers' strike, dropping ratings and losing even more advertising revenues.
This would also give cable networks and their affiliates another push -- just like the one they got when the writers' strike occurred.
Would that help digital media? Maybe. But this time around, just like the cable networks, new digital media is anticipating some major cuts in advertising spending over the next several months -- at least according to forecasters. Big companies like Chrysler are already talking about cutting back much of their alternative media spending.
A SAG strike could happen around the first of December -- around the same time a year ago when the writers struck.
There would be a silver lining for some advertisers -- considering the total advertiser market already appears to be sinking without a strike. This creates less-supply, less-demand market conditions for those entrepreneurial advertisers looking to buy under-valued TV media.
For some traditional TV networks, this might create a shopping frame of mind. Depressing company valuations -- especially now on the digital side -- means opportunity for those companies who missed the areas they should have capitalized on the last time around - social networking, for example.
Still it's all a crapshoot in the burgeoning field of TV speculation. But, with the current TV marketplace and the horrible economy, adding in another major disruption, another strike, will keep us not just guessing, but guessing badly.