Commentary

Do Advertisers Want More 'Premium' TV?

Escalating TV production -- for premium TV entertainment in particular -- will not slow down.

Take Fox Searchlight, a medium-sized movie studio focused on big adult-skewing, award-winning movies. Now it’s starting its own TV unit, Searchlight Television.

Its parent company, 21st Century Fox, has committed to selling its TV and film division to Walt Disney. Fox Searchlight goes to Disney as well, should the deal be completed. 

The intention is to expand Searchlight’s strong success in producing successful adult-skewing movies. Some new TV shows will head to digital video-streaming platform Hulu (co-owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner), according to reports.

We are talking “premium” TV shows. Fox Searchlight produces award-winning films, such as “The Shape Of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

This comes as Netflix inks deals with major TV producers with strong TV franchises -- Ryan Murphy (a $300 million deal) and Shonda Rhimes (a $100 million deal). So if you are in the TV production business -- even now behind the growing Netflix -- you want to get on board.

Netflix will spend an eye-popping $8 billion on TV and movie production this year. Amazon, looking to keep pace, will go to $4 billion. Apple, which is only getting started, will begin with a modest -- by comparison -- $1 billon.

This might seem like good news for TV advertisers. Big, attention-getting “premium” TV shows to attached their messages through TV commercials in the coming years.

But is this what TV advertisers still want? New audience segments and new audience guarantees might be drawn in another direction.

Might those new metrics shift dollars to live sports, reality TV or growing TV news content? Also, consider stronger branded entertainment efforts on traditional TV and digital media in the form of “native” content.

Still, some of this may not be described as valuable TV content. However, maybe we haven’t found the right descriptor.

Joe Mandese, editor in chief of MediaPost, has asked many times for a definition in a rapidly changing media environment and evolving media terms.

I’ll add this: define premium.

1 comment about "Do Advertisers Want More 'Premium' TV?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 17, 2018 at 7:17 a.m.

    A very difficult definition to come up with, Wayne. For some advertisers. "premium" TV content is defined by the perception of quality. Many add audience size to the equation and still others are mostly concerned with merchandising, promotional considerations and the "environment" or image association benefits the content provides----sports and news being prime examples. Here, audience size isn't as crucial  or are demos and consumer targeting factors. It's more the look of the buy.

    TV time sellers appreciate many of these nuances and they have learned over the years that if they--the networks and cable channels--- pay higher than the norm to acquire and offer certain kinds of content----a "quality primetime drama series, the NFL games, major TV event "specials", etc. that advertisers will also fork over much larger sums to reach viewers in these contexts in contrast to exposing their ads to exactly the same people when thay happen to watch "Dr Phil" or "Judge Judy" or "The Real Housewives of Podunk". That's the one consistent thread in all of the discussions of "premium"---high program costs and high CPMs for their advertisers.

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