What does a TV executive do these days with the biggest site for video on the Internet? It's a big gamble for a big audience. You can take the promotion value that YouTube gives and leave the licensee fee money for your content on the table. Or, you can sue in the hopes of getting some money -- but no big audience.
TV is in retro mode these days, seemingly drawing premises from 1950s-style TV. There is a talent show, "American Idol"; a ballroom dance show, "Dancing with the Stars"; and now a bingo show. ABC will be airing "National Bingo Night" during the May sweeps. This isn't just 1950s TV stuff. This is 1950s community-center, neighborhood- church material.
Court TV will change its name next year -- but will advertisers change their plea? The channel's longtime problem has always been the lurid nature of some of its programming -- particularly in daytime, with those real-life, set-in-courtroom cases. How do you get advertisers interested in real-life grisly murder, rape, and mayhem?
Go ahead and face the terrible thought of your advertising creative genetics: Your baby is ugly. Marketers of the Association of National Advertisers will get just that type of analysis from broadcast networks, cable channels and syndicators in future years, should they force those media sellers into giving them exact ratings per commercial.
What is both wrong and right with ABC's "World News," "NBC Nightly News" and "CBS Evening News" seems to be a not-always-working theory of lead-in programming and leading news stories.
In its cable channel campaign, Major League Baseball may have learned a lesson or two from the NFL's cable channel efforts of last year. MLB is putting a proposal together for cable operators, asking them to run out-of-market games under a package called, "Extra Innings," if they agree to a new baseball cable channel -- to be launched in 2009 -- that will run on their most valuable, analog tier of program networks.
If I were a producer of a flagging network show, I'd think of calling Rosie O'Donnell to take a rip at it. I'd tell her privately that too many people from Peru or Hoboken or South Central were on my show -- that they were too thin, or too heavy, or too blonde -- and that I, as the producer, have had financial troubles. If previous history is any judge -- i.e., Donald Trump and "The Apprentice" -- this seems to work well.
TV marketing executives should take note of their older entertainment brothers: Movie studio marketers have found a way to save money on telling consumers what films to see.
Selling TV programs is like taking the troops out on maneuvers, getting ready for the main action. Great programming ideas kill, they say. One competing programming executive talks about the annual January arrival of "American Idol" as a "nuclear bomb," flattening all in its wake. One might wonder if in these war-like, terrorist-threatening times, these metaphors really are necessary when we are talking about TV.
"Bond swings. It's a high fly to deep right-center field. It's going. It's going. It is indeed gone." That could be the call -- and the metaphor -- when Barry Bonds, as pretty much expected, hits his 22nd home run this season, breaking Hank Aaron's 755 home run record, perhaps the most revered in all of sports. Better still, how will advertisers look to join the party -- especially as Bond continues to face serious questions of steroids, perjury and fans' reactions, which seemingly range from indifference to resentment.