For weeks now, there has been coverage of ESPN's most high profile reporters, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, being paid to tweet about Domino's Pizza during the College Football Playoff. The biggest problem was, there was no indication that these tweets were sponsored. Domino's said it was a mistake. Fair enough.
The biggest star of your high-rated TV series doesn't show up for work -- for a specific episode. Good and bad news, here: He's not a paid employee. Fox News Channel essentially has this problem for Thursday's Republican presidential debate now that Donald Trump, the leading candidate, says he won't participate.
For all the problems traditional linear TV has -- measurement issues and shifting TV content to new platforms/devices -- just look at the growing-even-more-complicated digital world of ad blocking. Maybe things aren't so bad. The scatter TV marketplace has seen some resurgence -- in large part due to traditional TV marketers holding back spending in the previous upfront and other media buying periods. But perhaps there is another reason: lack of confidence in specific digital media arenas.
The pay TV business remains "the widest household service in the country after heat and electricity," according to John Skipper, president of ESPN, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. To which I say: Someone hand me those solar panels!
Controversial TV shows, most times, result in double-edged sword issues -- for advertisers and viewers. And for big-time popular TV shows? Double that. More than a few TV and film actors have been concerned and angry about the lack of diversity in actor nominations for the Oscars, including film director Spike Lee, and actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. But the main question -- at least for TV advertisers -- is, what should one expect from this big, glitzy TV event this year? How does one plan -- or not -- for controversy?
TV marketers have long been known to glom on to Super Bowl-like ads without actually spending those millions in media placement costs. In the early days you had the likes of sports marketer Nike buying select local TV station inventory to make it look as if it was associated with the Super Bowl --- without spending the one, two, or three million price. Now, Google looks to Real-Time Ads -- where marketers can send out promotions targeted to what's actually happening during the game.
TV ratings are for wimps. Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, didn't say so -- but you can imagine he might have uttered this tough-guy remark given the chance this past week at the Television Critics Association meeting, or during Netflix's fourth quarter earnings phone call with analysts. Sarandos doesn't want to play in the daily box score TV ratings game, to paraphrase his remarks. He alluded to the fact Netflix doesn't carry advertising, which is more of a TV ratings-thing. In this light, we can add a few other networks that also don't take advertising: HBO and Showtime, ...
Seems you can't go anywhere these days without any media seller or buyer talking about "scale." But is bigger always better, or important, for overall sustainability? Talk about your targeting and your segmentation -- and then listen to Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix: It isn't always about creating TV shows with scale. During the Television Critics Association meeting, he talked about "building" Netflix TV shows for different level of audiences -- some totaling two million, others, 20 million.
Can you think about David Bowie and not think about "branding"? Maybe you should. Most people don't go into music, TV, or other entertainment considering "brand." One goes in hopefully to make good music, TV, movies, and other stuff. A "branding" label comes later. Think about a Dick Wolf TV procedural shows: the "Law & Order" and now the "Chicago" franchise of dramas.
"Anger and energy is what this country needs," said Donald Trump, speaking to CNN on Wednesday. Just in case you don't know, this guy Trump is running for president -- and he can get angry on TV. This makes sense, considering a recent NBC News/Esquire poll -- that there is a lot of anger around, especially at election time. But most of the TV-related anger is probably off-screen, with consumers enraged about ever-increasing pay TV monthly prices.