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.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Google to Sell Radio Ads

Google Audio? Have you heard about it? You can provide your audio ad to Google, who will place it on regular radio stations.

Google signed a deal with Clear Channel this week that increases their reach to 1600 AM/FM radio stations in the USA.

The Clear Channel deal represents about 5% of Clear Channel inventory, quite a bit. The Clear Channel spokesperson said the inventory is not "remnant", but 5% in a small market station is very likely unsold, or given as "bonus" anyway, so the definition of remnant is debatable.

This is another step in a good march, where the new media guys like Google and eBay etc are attempting to bring radio and TV advertising to small and medium advertisers in ways that are transparent, measurable and accountable.

Don't you think the traditional players could do that themselves and win more advertisers?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Local TV Measurement Quality is Low (Surprise!)

Ad Age reports that Group M CEO Irwin Gotlieb called local TV's measurement system the "worst media measurement (systems) that exists in the business".

He went further and said that "local broadcast is competing with digital media. Local broadcast will itself be digital media in only a few short years. And yet, we're still dealing with diary measurement? It just doesn't belong there."

Let me suggest that local TV has adapted well to not being measured! Much of their advertising comes from local advertisers who have either:
  • crude, but effective, ways of measuring ads, like how many people walked into the auto showroom on Saturday morning, or
  • are not sophisticated enough to measure effectiveness, as they replay the ad of themselves to friends and family.

Much of Local TV is losing the quality advertiser, who demands measurement, and is rapidly moving advertising dollars to media that offers clarity, transparency and better feedback loops. So the local TV ad sales team hunt the yellow page, flyer , radio and billboard advertisers, telling they can get a better bang for their buck through TV. The "cloud of war" obfuscates the activity and outcomes, but, short of offering better measurement, this is the way it is.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

eBay Ad Sales Project Hits Major Snag

I have been very busy this year on a number of projects and have not been posting at the rate I should have, but I'm back! And boy is there some interesting news!

I think one of the most interesting stories was the recent announcement that cable TV is "boycotting" the eBay initiative to sell TV ads "the eBay way" --- an auction.

The project was rumoured to be a $50 million initiative, started last year, and was backed by a number of large advertisers, like HP, Intel and Home Depot.

But the business has had its legs cut off by ESPN, Turner, Discovery and Lifetime who have "boycotted" the exchange.

This is pure hubris! I just love the quotes in the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's press release and the NY Times story. "Too narrow", "connectivity issues", "lacked provisions necessary for critical strategic and idea-driven intelligence", "went too far in removing humans from the ad sales process". Even some of the big buyers weighed in, saying that eBay did not allow the integration of promotions into the buying process.

As I have said many times in the past, the sellers of TV spots and the professional buyers do not want the transparency that exists with on-line advertising and will resist efforts to simplify, clarify and commoditize transactions.

Simply put, this move is just one battle in the continuing war that advertisers and TV ad sales are engaged in. Doesn't it sound like the sellers want less transparency, want the "idea-driven, creative process with promotions" to dominate, while advertisers want to know: "What do I get for what price?"

Battle on!