Looking for that big investor play on TV stocks in this upfront market? You'll need to look harder. Perhaps the most identifiable TV stock -- that of CBS Corp. -- is now less attached to the whims of advertising market oscillations. representing just short of 60% of all CBS' revenues. CBS is now pivoting to a more diverse streams of revenue: retransmission fees, reverse transmission revenues from stations, digital video revenue, and more traditional TV program license deals.
In this age of media fractionalization, what programming direction should networks take in the future? Should they depend on a single multi-night, multi-hour blockbuster, or perhaps on many limited series? With 22 weekly prime-time hours needed to fill each schedule for ABC, CBS and NBC -- and 15 hours for Fox -- a continued mix of programming would seem to be necessary. But media consumption methods are changing. For example, there's binging, digital video and other distractions.
CBS CEO Les Moonves says the cost of next year's prime-time schedule is lower than the current year's schedule. CBS must be doing something right here -- though we are not sure it's including its costs to buy those eight games of "Thursday Night Football" from the NFL (including one Saturday game).
Network sellers and buyers are gearing up for a big battle this upfront. But who will be the real leader? CBS says it is. For the 2013-2014 season, CBS posted the best 18-49 viewer ratings and highest upfront ad revenue. But this year could be a different story.
In 2013, the average number of TV channels in a typical U.S. home was just over 189. This was up nearly 50% over the average of 129 channels five years earlier, in 2008. But here's the kicker: We still view on average just 17.5 of those channels -- or 9% of the total pool. This number was a nearly identical 17.3 channels in 2008, according to Nielsen data. Meanwhile, lots of other research shows we are watching more TV, as well as using and engaging with other media.
It's all good and well that networks and producers are getting a nice bump in revenue from digital video platforms. But that may not be enough going forward.How about a little cross-channel promotion from platform partners for networks' shows?
Tesla, the upscale all-electric car brand, sells its cars directly to the public. It doesn't have an independent dealership system as part of its business model -- and that's a problem in New Jersey, Texas, and Arizona, for example, where it's the law to have separate automotive distributors. Some of these states laws are written under the assumption that dealers help customers by creating competitive pricing as well as offering special consumer guarantees and protection. Would TV networks say the same about their distribution companies: cable operators, satellite and telco companies? Have they been holding down customer fees for TV …
Is TV dead? AOL asked this provocative question in a recent display ad. We didn't necessarily get an answer -- just a link to a site that provided original content like trailers and TV shows. Yes, the ad made you look. And isn't that what TV, in its essence, is all about?
The weather this past winter slowed down many industries -- but not Domino's. In fact, the big pizza chain witnessed an increase in business. Guessing that few wanted to venture outside in the rain, snow, and other bad weather conditions. (But what about the poor deliveryperson?) What goes with pizza in bad weather? Maybe a little TV. Perhaps some binge viewing.
In the current upfront, TVGN, the former TV Guide Network, now co-owned by CBS and Lionsgate, and competing with the older all-entertainment-skewing network E!, has taken a different kind of approach to marketers: more direct and perhaps more honest. TVGN says simply: "We're cheaper, we're safer."