This one was easy to see coming. Lately Tiger Woods has not made an appearance in TV ads where he is a company spokesperson. TV marketers will talk about a changing media and marketing world, and changing societal mores and tastes, but the default move goes back to what has worked in the past. Nobody likes a cheater, generally speaking. But in a new world of addressable advertising, all this might indeed change.
Some TV business honesty seems too good, too hard to believe, and maybe too late. Consider: "We've underinvested in development at NBC in recent years. I think that was a mistake." And: "The fact is, we haven't done a good enough job." Most of those statements could get people fired. Still, I like the frankness. It is always good to own up to the error of our ways.
Get ready to do business with the biggest new name in media -- Comcast-NBC Universal -- in fall 2011. Given the scrutiny around the deal, it could take a year and half before it gets approved by all the Federal agencies. That means the benefits of the combined resources of these companies will probably be on hold through two upfront advertising markets
Tiger Woods takes another break -- and TV golf programming executives hold their breath. Now that Woods has admitted to "transgressions" -- as well as the fact that Cadillac SUVs are no match for Orlando trees or fire hydrants --- TV executives can only wait for another of his high-rated returns.
There's been some occasional criticism of Dick Ebersol. There were Olympic broadcasts in some temporal iteration known as "plausibly live." The much-hyped XFL was a short-lived disaster. But NBC Universal's Sports Czar For Life would just skate by, as easily as many of the figure skaters that turned the Winter Games he managed into a hit. Now, Comcast -- the would-be penny pinchers, the eat-at-T.G.I. Friday's-on-your-per-diem crew -- is set to gain control of NBCU. And management looks enamored with Ebersol.
So this is one of those fill-in-while-Wayne-Friedman-is-out TV Watch columns in which I confess what an old fuddy-duddy I am, because there are two stories circulating through the TV industry as I pen this column that illustrate for me just how much the rules have changed. The first is the Federal Communications Commission's surprise decision to zero-base its plans for the broadcast TV spectrum that was freed up by the conversion to digital TV. The second is the not-so-surprising announcement of Comcast's merger with NBC Universal.
Jay Leno, now step up to the mike! The real worth of your show to NBC will finally get its true test. That is: Will you be getting better ratings now that everyone else is in reruns?
A headline about a Fresno, Calif. TV station talked miracles: "KSEE Fresno Cancels News For Holidays." Wow. I always knew local TV stations were powerful. But to cancel crime, winter storms, and government scandals takes effort. (Then again, maybe it's just about canceling the information about those events.)