News that NBC had sold a Super Bowl spot to direct response TV marketer Cash4Gold.com speaks volumes to some media executives. To them it says that not only is the economy poor, but that the TV economy is withering right before viewers' eyes.
Pop-up ads on your TV screen? Pre-roll commercials before your DVR rolls into "Heroes"? Just wait. All this is probably coming, says Tom Rogers, president/chief executive officer of TiVo. The TV advertising business will change radically -- and for some, crushingly. Rogers was addressing the suffering NATPE meeting in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Television is a battleground, and TV executives are aiming right at viewers -- especially the slower-moving consumers.
What's the damage if you're a big consumer brand that spends fewer media dollars on TV? Apparently none. How about zero TV dollars? In this economy, it might have consumers guessing the worst.
Despite its size, syndication has been one of the steadiest national TV platforms. That may not be good news for some. Yes, syndication has been hit -- like everything else -- with ratings erosion. Not even those prized off-network sitcoms are doing the same numbers as a few years ago. Vaunted multi-decade-long shows like "Wheel of Fortune," "Oprah Winfrey" and "Entertainment Tonight" have also recorded lower ratings. But here's the deal: Unlike "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" or "Joan of Arcadia" or "Rock Star," these shows are still on the air.
TiVo has just made a case for TV networks to start programming commercials. Last year TiVo said six of the 10 most-viewed commercials seen in DVR playback mode during 2008 were spots for theatrical film releases. It wouldn't make sense to stick a movie or entertainment commercial in virtually every "A" position. But it would be smart to analyze which spots have been more entertaining/better viewed.
This is why TV programmers should never become Reunion.com. Somehow I was tricked -- my own fault -- into believing I was setting up a quick account at social network area Reunion.com -- all to access our company's holiday party photos. I assumed it would be a fast way to get what I needed. I'm sure I didn't read the fine print. Instead, my password was used to access my email, through which spam was sent -- and continues to be repeatedly sent -- to all my contacts. The killer here is the messages continue to come not from Reunion.com, ...
One thing came out loud and clear in President Barack Obama's inaugural address: encouraging Americans to serve their country. This doesn't mean in the traditional ways -- in the armed forces -- but helping people out when a levee breaks and homes are destroyed, or, for the unemployed, volunteering their time. That got me thinking. How can those in the TV business "serve" best, for viewers, advertisers, competitors, and new media platforms?
Traditional TV marketers always know what's coming. Their point of measurement comes down to what a show did in the ratings, or how much did the production cost, or, which advertisers are buying in. This goes double for TV business writers. During the Television Critics Association tour we are reminded again how these glaring reference points create the walls we live in. Never is this more apparent than when we're trying to make sense of the new Internet-based TV shows.
ESPN will air a documentary in March about the 24 Hours of Le Mans race -- a program totally financed by German automaker Audi. One obvious question: Will the show, "Truth in 24," let viewers know that the program is backed by Audi -- and therefore could influence its content? But a bigger question remains: Does it matter?