Commentary

What's Forecast For TV Scatter? Too Cloudy For Some

A television ad market that seems less “visible” to major TV executives could mean another changing marketplace -- but not necessarily less money.

A weak upfront market now translates into a potential scatter market full of mystery. TV Watch hears that some broadcast networks are looking at mid-single-digit percentage gains in the fourth quarter period.

Sounds about right -- maybe a little under expectations. But actual volume? Who knows.

Senior executives at large TV/media companies offered up little when talking to Wall Street analysts concerning the state of the current TV advertising market -- because they just didn’t know. What they did know: TV ad money increasingly is being committed later and later for the media buying cycle.

But Chase Carey, president/chief operating officer of Fox, said that concerns of a weakening TV ad market  “are overblown, particularly in the short term.”

So you have two things maybe going on: a potential near-term weakness, and  afuzzy vision of the future.

This isn’t to say TV will be losing media dollars drastically. Fractionalization exists now across all traditional TV networks -- broadcast, cable, syndication, and local. But that doesn’t necessarily mean massive chunks will be shifting out of TV anytime soon -- just a shift among TV players.

This trend continues to be driven by big consumer brands procurement officers who realize last minute, near-real-time decisions that can benefit shifting tactics to gain the best on-the-ground sales impact.

Fractionalization of TV ratings  seems to breed more issues as well. Is there a lower focus in securing what’s left of so-called high-rated TV programs? Lower rated-programming means less of a rush -- whether it is those seeking programming packages including ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” or AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

But what about the Super Bowl? Sure, a once-a-year TV program bringing in about $250 million in one particular day for a lucky TV network is a fun topic to think about. But it may not be a barometer for the bigger $70 billion TV picture.

This isn’t to say there aren’t key regular-season TV series everyone wants, but with continued moves to real-time media buying for traditional TV inventory, and with more programmatic buying systems on the horizon, TV network executives will need to find some key microscopic views of their advertising traction.

2 comments about "What's Forecast For TV Scatter? Too Cloudy For Some".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, November 10, 2014 at 4:09 p.m.

    An increase in scatter market ad inventory makes sense since the digital side is providing real time feedback hence allowing more control of whether to spend on the scatter market to complement the digital strategy. This tail wagging the dog is not a good secular trend for major TV broadcasters.

  2. David Hoo from Effective Marketing Management, November 10, 2014 at 8:31 p.m.

    I seriously challenge that procurement officers have any real idea of "on--the-ground sales impact."...driven by big consumer brands procurement officers who realize last minute, near-real-time decisions that can benefit shifting tactics to gain the best on-the-ground sales impact." Show me the sales effect data!

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