The Future of TV Advertising

Tracks trends in traditional television ad sales and the impact of new technologies, new competition.

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Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Proven senior level executive with over 25 years of leading turnarounds and startups of software companies in media, finance, energy and business intelligence. See more at Linked In.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Comcast a Winner!

Comcast reported a big jump in earnings last week ... finally, as CEO Brian Roberts said, reaching an "inflection point" of increased earnings.

Comcast sits in an excellent strategic position to capitalize on the change in technology and can now enjoy the yields on their very extensive investments over the past decade.

In addition to carriage (subscription fee) revenues, they leverage their earnings with broadband and telephone fees. Nice leverage!

Not Everyone is Happy With the New Face of Broadcast

I reported last week that NBC was saying goodbye to 8 pm dramas and going exclusively to (low cost of production) reality shows at that hour.

That didn't get a good reaction from Hearst-Argyle Television CEO David Barrett, who said that that could be a mistake.

Yikes! Well, this is one strategy to the shift away from TV. Lower costs, produce lower quality material.

City bus services in many locations face the same. Ridership down? Raise fares, reduce number of bus trips. I haven't seen that work in those cases, and I wait to see if it will work NBC and its affiliates.

Initial reaction from NBC -- said to be reconsidering ....

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Cost Cutting Begins, Signs of Traditional Decline Widen

A number of stories caught my eye and prove that the trend away from "broadcast" advertising continues.

  • NBC is cutting costs by $750 million, and will direct more effort to digital media. Say goodbye to 8 pm dramas! And say hello to layoffs (at a town hall meeting today).
  • The Wall Street Journal saw ad revenue fall by 5.9% in September!
  • The new "My Network TV" is not doing well. Ad Age reports that "the shows average 439,000 viewers in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and a 0.3 rating/1 share. The total number of nightly viewers adds up to 910,000, according to live-plus-same-day figures provided by Nielsen Media Research through Oct. 15. Those ratings are more akin to a second-tier cable network"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On-line Video Will Save Traditional TV

OK, seems odd that the very thing that is killing traditional media ... can save it.

A great blog on Video Insider spells out in detail all the ways advertisers can choose to interact with viewers if they watch their video on broadband or via IPTV.

In Maryland where I live, Verizon is offering IPTV (they don't call it that) over fiber they laid. They really have the opportunity to avoid the sins of the past (allowing the sales force to run the business) and offer true quality measurable products that advertisers want.

When you buy local TV, you get measured on 400-600 households in the region, at best daily, in most markets 4 times a year, and in some markets, not at all. So you are buying a statistical probability that your desired audience was watching.

In broadband / IPTV, you know who, when etc. It is no longer the "broadcast model", but a direct marketing engagement.

You now see the big content owners: CBS, ABC, etc. telling you "you can watch us on-line". This will be the trend .. leaving those who have no content (i.e. local TV stations) increasingly out in the cold. offers the latest on internships and entry level jobs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

eBay - A Portent of Change for TV Sales

Wal-Mart and 117 other advertisers have been pushing an auction based TV ad sales systems, run by eBay, according to Ad Age.

The CAB (Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau ) is urging cable companies to participate.

We'll monitor this development. We think it is the right thing: good for advertisers, good for the owners of media properties. More price transparency, a greater sense of fairness ... should lead to "more efficient markets" and raise the amount of transactions.

This has been the case in many many other types of markets, the stock exchange being one of the prime examples.

Who will be the losers? Why hasn't this happened before now?

Answer: The traders. Sales people who now "manage the relationships", "assemble the right package" and take home $200K to $1 million a year for doing so. They have been a large part, and will continue to be a large part of the resistance to this phenomenon.

The buyers, who loved the perks of directing business (trips, tickets, dinners, etc.) are on the road to marginalization anyway, so there will be less "armed" resistance from them.

It's interesting that this is happening at the same time that the NYSE is finally starting to go to fully electronic trading. The scenes of the trading pit will replaced by colorful screens. And soon most, if not all, of the floor traders will lose their very lucrative jobs on the floor.

If the Wal-mart / eBay experiment succeeds, we have to see the same loss of high-paying sales jobs in the media companies. And it will be good for TV ad sales.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Unified Sales Teams for Your Ad Sales

I've been working intensively on a web project and have fallen behind ... but this morning's article in Ad Age woke me up! They discuss the merits of having a separate team for web sales, versus a unified team.

It focuses on print, and talks about there being different metrics in print (same for TV) versus the web ... and the desire by agencies to have a single buy plan.

But beneath all this is the clash of cultures. the old style sales forces, as I have observed, see their media as the "be all and end all". They more often than not have more revenue (read, corporate clout). They look at the digital world as neat, but "value added".

The only way for the new media to gain a foothold in media sales organizations is to keep them apart.