Yet Another Way To Skin National TV Ad Revenues

A station or network giving up advertising time to get programming isn't a new idea. But in this new age of on-demand programming one would think studios wouldn't be looking to foster that activity--that is, get cash, and only cash.

Daily Variety says cable network AMC really couldn't afford Warner Bros.' $80 million price tag for a package of almost two-dozen movies sold to AMC last June. So Warner took some advertising time in other movies running on the network instead to lower the price.

Why other movies? There wasn't any reason offered, but one could imagine that giving up older, well-played movie inventory gives AMC fresher inventory to sell.

Still, there remains a conflict: AMC could be selling the same national advertising time to the same sellers as Warner Bros for its network movies.

One suggestion to avoid this is to structure advertising packages differently: AMC could sell its prime-time inventory and other dayparts inventory together; Warner just gets to sell time in one daypart--say, prime time.



Creating different packages is how this already works in cable and syndication when a TV producer comes calling. This is the way it works for, say, a Warner Bros. and cable network, TBS, that both sell national advertising time in "Friends." TBS just sells national cable inventory; Warner Bros. sells national cable inventory in a package of "Friends" syndication airings.

For years TV producers and networks or stations have found other ways to split the pie. For instance, some producers offer a TV show with an advertiser already attached--say, with an exclusive arrangement with a Coca-Cola, or a Verizon Wireless, or a General Motors. Still others try to split media agencies that are targeted.

The bad news is this means a network or station won't be selling that show to a soft drink, a telecommunication, or auto company or certain media agencies. Typically that is a restricting activity. But for a cash-strapped network or station, there are no alternatives.

It's good to know TV executives are expanding their old-fashioned advertising TV alternatives in a world seemingly dominated by brand entertainment and on-demand personalized TV offerings.

Of course some new advertising alternatives always seem to favor media sellers, not the media buyers. It's another puzzle for media agencies to solve.

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