TV Networks Make Case Against Digital Ads

At the upfronts, TV continues to make its case against digital video: Commercials run on the big screen in full -- not below or partially below the screen such as with online. TV marketers don’t have to worry about their TV commercials being subjected to possible erroneous inflated media data because of “bot” activity or other screwy measurement/ad network snafus.

Not only will your advertising have “viewability,” but we promise your ads will be “viewed,” said Toby Byrne, president of advertising sales for Fox Networks Group.

That’s because TV gives advertisers the “opportunity” for their ads to be seen. But if viewers aren’t interested in watching those ads -- skipping through them, or leaving the room for whatever reasons -- viewability isn’t the issue. But being “viewed” is.

You might say: Nielsen doesn’t count those fast-forwarded TV commercials in C3 ratings, so what’s the problem?



Considering Fox’s rating troubles this past season -- down 20% -- Byrne’s promise of being “viewed” is the right sentiment.

TV networks’  advertising-supported video-on-demand services are one step in the right direction: no fast-forwarding involved, and, for the most part, a more personal “engaging” approach to media.

During this upfront -- and for a while now --- TV networks have talked up VOD. The downside, of course, is not all pay TV providers have similar VOD services, and not all TV networks have standardized ways of addressing such questions as the number of episodes available at one time. Sometimes the overall scale isn’t up to snuff for national marketers.

And then there is the louder noise from competition SVOD services like Netflix that don’t take advertising -- but are taking away viewers from cable in particular, according to some.

Getting your advertising “viewed”? Yes, that will continue to be a growing issue on any newfangled digital TV service -- or on many nervous traditional TV networks.

4 comments about "TV Networks Make Case Against Digital Ads ".
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  1. Rob Donner from AudienceXpress, May 13, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

    If you wonder why people are fast-forwarding through the commercials, then sit at home and wait til you see an anti-smoking ad - then tell me how that's going to prevent people from blowing through the commericals.  Repulsive spots such as these are the reason people don't want to sit through the commercials.  I'll watch the Citipay commercials with the teenage daughter going to the island (with no cell service) any time, but those anti-smoking commericals make me want to change the channel, not wait for the next spot.  And this is coming from someone who loves commercials!

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 13, 2015 at 3:31 p.m.

    While it's about time that the TV networks started to defend themselves against "digital" regarding commercial "viewability" its a real stretch to hear any of theif top execs "promise" that their viewers will watch their advertisers' commercials. Do they really believe that Nielsen is measuring commercial "viewing"?

    As an added comment, the TV networks need to be talking a lot more to advertiser marketing execs---the real agency clients---and less to time buyers regarding how ad dollars should be split between "linear TV" and digital. Such discussions ,and presentations, if they are to have any value, must zero in on real world marketing and advertising concerns, and recognize that digital is not "the enemy" but needs to be compared with television using sensible and common metrics. It's no longer an either-or situation. Both platforms will be used together, increasingly, in the future.

  3. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, May 15, 2015 at 2:49 p.m.

    20 min of ads, some relevant and many not plus 40 min of content does not equate to a great viewing experience. Linear TV needs to refine itself - I call it "Recast" itself to a whole new viewing expereince.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 15, 2015 at 3:53 p.m.

    @Leonard, the actual ratio of commercials as a percent of total content is 25%, not 33% and it's even lower than that in prime time on the broadcast TV networks---about 9.5 minutes per hour. There may be some individual shows or cable channels where the figure is as high as you state and there are also promos and PSAs to take into account, but 33% is not a fair representation of TV's average commercial "load".

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