Last Thursday, on the MediaPost Outfront panel, some senior media agency executives noted some unfavorable numbers:
John Muszynski, chief investment officer, Publicis Media Exchange, said over the past five years, prime-time ad pricing rose 38%, while delivery of adult 18-49 viewers declined 39%. That’s not a good formula.
Mike Law, head of U.S. media investment at Dentsu Aegis Network, said “the number is actually worse.” Since 2001, prime-time ratings declined 78%, while ad rates grew 180%.
Muszynski also noted that while broadcast networks claim to cut down the number of commercials -- in an effort to address TV marketers complaints -- it didn’t result in much. Except for some higher overall pricing.
For example, he says TV networks may be just shifting commercials -- trimming back the number of messages, in the first commercial pod of a TV show, for example. But they load up more commercials later in a show. The first scaled-down commercial pod of two commercials would be charged a premium price.
In addition, networks did not offer up any discount on the rest of the TV inventory in a program.
Who was doing this? He did not disclose.
In a following MediaPost Outfront panel, Catherine Warburton, chief investment officer, Assembly, offered this caveat for those looking at the depressing TV network pricing trend: There are great deals on cable TV networks.
For many marketers, cable TV networks offer better reach and scale than many premium digital platforms. But cable TV still has much lower reach than broadcast networks.
Big-time TV brand marketers are left in another spot. The ratings supply continues to weaken. And while digital video platforms are growing, they are still woefully inadequate for major-spending, scale-needing TV upfront advertisers.
Other ideas are still fuzzy. For example, addressable advertising in its current form does not address TV marketers' complete needs, either.
In dealing with this year’s TV network market, frenzied media-buying executives’ upfront work time will yield them little downtime.