Broadcast Erosion, Etc.: Many Issues As Upfront Beckons

It’s just a few short weeks before the big upfront question mark gets answered: Will networks and media agencies find a common bond this season when it comes to making TV commercial deals?

Commercial ratings, DVR viewership, engagement, have all been factors. At least one major question has been answered:  TV viewers were not crazy to keep Sanjaya for another week. Maybe now some order has been restored to product placement and crazy reality shows. Rise your big red Coke glass on the set of “American Idol” and cheer.

Big TV stuff happens in threes. And we have had two so far: the firing of Imus, and NBC’s questionable journalism with the Virginia Tech shootings.

NBC might do some shaking up, perhaps even letting go of long-time stalwart “Law & Order.”  NBC, the network recently of the lowest weekly rating in a very long time, must lay down the law on new shows.



There are troubling questions going into upfront season. Broadcast erosion has reared its ugly head after three years of hiding. But this time cable isn’t necessarily cheering, as it doesn’t seem to be getting that lost audience.

Throw this into the mix:  After being told that those Internet showings of beloved TV shows weren’t affecting the ratings of traditional airings, we find out that people are multitasking more than ever, taking their eye off the ball --and perhaps even live-airing non-taped commercials. And, maybe, just maybe, they are watching many original prime-time TV shows.

And, in the middle of it all, comes this crazy advertising market that gets everyone to scratch their heads: Will it be up or down by 1% or 3%, with or without digital packages, or DVR viewership, or exact minute commercial ratings, or engagement guarantees, or any ring of endorsement over a consensus.

These types of weddings usually end badly -- perhaps with crashers, mostly with divorce.

Look out. But don’t be down. The upfront is coming.



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