ust when I was beginning to miss all those alleged TV pressure group advertiser activities, comes one in connection with the "Late Show with David Letterman" and Embassy Suites. As usual, though, don't read too much into this.
Can two weeks' worth of TV ratings for the new late-night wars be enough to alter TV advertisers' minds for the upfront? In the face of one of the highest profile on-air changeovers in network television, "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" was able to maintain Jay Leno's previous average audience -- at least with those prime young viewers advertisers hold so dear.
It's not exactly an intellectual tour de force. But now that the much-hyped Canoe Ventures has hit some snags, it's fun to play with potential headlines if the slowdown continues. "Heading Downstream," "Facing Choppy Waters," "Sending People Overboard" (if there are layoffs) -- or a New York Post special: "Up (Bleep) Creek Without a Paddle."
Tomorrow is D-Day. In case you are a new millennium version of Rip Van Winkle, it's not the day we reinvade Germany. It's the day the U.S. broadcast TV industry transitions to digital from analog spectrum. And, of course, all hell breaks loose. Or maybe not.
One of the big stories circulating around TV land over the past couple of days is the fact that David Letterman has struck a new deal that will keep him at CBS for at least another couple of years. However, it's not that big a story, and I'm not sure why.
There's a timely YouTube video rapidly being passed along to industry in-boxes that argues the upfront -- and by extension network TV -- is moribund thanks to the digital revolution. To the tune of Don McLean's 1972 hit "American Pie" comes "Mad Avenue Blues," carrying the chorus:So bye, bye those big upfront buys/ Pitched my client who was pliant/But the pitch didn't fly/And old ad boys were drinking martinis dry/ Singing "Tech has taken us for a ride" "Algorithms got me cross-eyed."
With ratings erosion still fast and furious -- especially among broadcast networks -- and the number of video platforms still growing, TV marketers need to be even more aggressive in asking viewers for their complete attention to 30-second commercials. What they need is to ask viewers not to watch other commercials.
The TV industry's biggest marketing night -- the Emmys -- will avoid some hard NFL hitting this year. But maybe the Emmys need to do some tackling of its own.
I worry about a conflict of interest that might occur in the next several months, should MSNBC's "Morning Joe" -- now promoted as "Brewed by Starbucks" -- have to cover a specific caffeine-infused story. The show, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who now can be found drinking Starbucks' coffee on-air, will be put into a bind. Will the TV director look to frame out any Starbucks-logo-ed cups should an uncomfortable situation crop up?
If Time Warner wants to charge for the bandwidth I use from the Internet -- eliminating the all-you-can-eat monthly price -- why not consider this arrangement for traditional TV monthly packages as well?