TV Networks And Marketers: Place Your Bets, Good Time Guaranteed

Fox is getting tough with some of its TV affiliates when it comes to retransmission discussions. Other networks might do the same. Will this toughness extend to TV advertising partners?

Few call the expected double-digit increases for the price of a thousand TV viewers [CPMs] for advertisers as "getting tough". But in the 80s and early 90s, many media agency executives felt sometimes strong armed by the networks --- at a time when TV broadcasters were more dominant.

Now, networks are looking to get tough again -- for different reasons. TV revenue is harder to come by, especially for the broadcast networks.

Fox has made it clearly known it is aggressively seeking s big revenue goals, getting there by whatever means possible. Right now it's targeting those newly discovered TV affiliates's retransmission dollars. Fox wants a piece of them -- perhaps 50% to 75% -- from TV stations deals with cable, satellite, or telco operators.



Tough negotiations always seem to describe the upfront. TV is still powerful, but not a lot has changed. Cable is strong, digital video is coming on, as well as a host of would-be new digital video operators looking to get a piece of the action.

Smaller broadcast ratings are still chased by big TV marketers budgets because research still shows -- even with all the entertainment options out there -- that all kinds of traditional TV programming still sell product. At next week's upfronts, expect to be sold more glitz.

How about a somewhat older-targeted "Glee"-like show? Steven Spielberg's "Smash," for NBC, might be the ticket. Thinking more crime drama? There's J.J. Abrams' "Alcatraz" for Fox, with "Lost" alumni Jorge Garcia. Something a little more tawdry -- with a racy title? There's "Good Christian Bitches" on ABC. Another revamped TV franchise? A new "Charlie's Angels" on ABC starring Minka Kelly.

Still, all this winds up to be a careful wager. Network executives would probably like to differ and say upfront deals are guaranteed, that the risk is low. That said, one knows a lot of what a TV advertiser buys can change in a given season: Media math will tell you that nine of ten new shows will ultimately fail, and, to complicate matters, media buying executives understand a client's needs will probably change somewhat through the year.

What does this mean? That marketers will need to still have a good time when it comes to play in TVland, sending out messages to TV business executives and consumers alike -- all who will hopefully remember their name.

Million-dollar bets will be placed. Tough-minded bouncers will be watching carefully, making sure a good time is had by all. Guaranteed.

Next story loading loading..