Commentary

CBS Falling Back To TV's Promo Future

It’s back to old-school marketing for CBS: Virtually all its fall shows will premiere in a one-week period starting right after its Emmy awards show on Sunday, Sept. 22.

Actually, the eye network has done this in other recent years, while its broadcast competitors have mostly spread out their show launches due to too much “noise” clashing around the marketing of new TV content.

Last year, NBC started new shows in August right after the Summer Olympics, in order to get the benefit of that spin. Other networks -- including Fox, ABC and CW -- have also premiered new series or returning seasons of existing shows before the official Nielsen season starts in mid- to late September. On the other end of things, many shows have also started in mid-October.

The chief problem now, according to a senior broadcast network marketing executive, is the continued shortage of viewers for TV promos. While network advertising and promotion is a powerful tool, the overall effect decreases each year because regular ratings are eroding at least 5-8% annually.

Competition from other TV platforms is also having an effect. For example, many new cable shows start in the summer. And both cable and broadcast networks also start shows at other times of the year.

CBS, of course, does some of this as well.  But the fall seasonal start still means something, and CBS looks to get the benefit of its brand name for the impact of a big umbrella marketing program.

Not too sure of the research here, but one would imagine that consumer awareness for TV shows starting in the fall is still relatively high.

Add in this: With over 50% of the country now regularly time-shifting TV programming, many consumers might miss part of the marketing cycle.

Consumers can be increasingly confused in this fractionalized and growing media world. Is a show live? Nearly live (time-shifted)?  From a couple of weeks ago or more (but still new and time-shifted)? Or a rerun? Consumers have to be more savvy than ever.

More than a few times, TV Watch has asked: When is this new show starting -- or when is this returning show starting a new season?

Using the traditional time frame of the fall as the start of the new TV season then makes sense.  Without much thinking -- or work -- one can find what the new season is all about. There’s plenty of time for TV marketing noise elsewhere.

3 comments about "CBS Falling Back To TV's Promo Future".
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  1. Wayne Friedman from MediaPost Communications, June 18, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.

    CBS must be doing something right. It won the coveted 18-49 primetime crown this past season -- the first time in a long time -- as well as maintaining its overall primetime leadership among all viewers.

  2. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, June 19, 2013 at 6:42 a.m.

    In the good old days I used to love when the new television season started, for a few weeks I got to choose the new shows I will be watching all winter...

  3. Judy Franks from The Marketing Democracy, June 19, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.

    CBS understands that the future of network television will rely on its Event status. Creating an Event with a "Premiere Week" will help to promote live viewing vs the ala carte grazing that tends to happen among today's digitally savvy viewers. Good for them!
    PS The fact that they have the Emmy's as a launch platform doesn't hurt!

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