Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 26, 2021

Contentiousness between advertisers and TV networks over ad rates is par for the course, particularly in a recession. Still, the stalemate over this year’s volume of unsold airtime inventory is especially acute when considering the tactics on the ad side:

For years, networks showcased their new shows, and advertisers lined up to buy into the programming. An early buy typically provides audience guarantees and better prices than advertisers can get when they buy on the fly. If they don’t buy in the upfront, they may face higher prices for whatever ad inventory remains in the so-called scatter market.

But advertisers are increasingly turning the tables on the networks and doing the pitching themselves. Rather than hear what great shows the networks have to offer, advertisers present their brand plans and ask networks to come up with ad solutions.

This boldness in calling the shots — really, attempting to define the context, i.e. programming content — stems from advertisers’ success in exercising more complete creative control on the Web’s social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Those “ad solutions” requested from television amounts to an emulation of the malleable content advertisers enjoy online.

And that wouldn’t be possible without the acknowledgment that more eyeballs are online, instead of in front of the TV screen. Which revives the debate over just how close the Web is to supplanting TV as the chief mass medium for the American consumer.

I haven’t bought the hyperbole that claims the Web is already the place to be. TV is still far more accessible and impactful for the wider population, and therefore more powerful; that’s reflected in much of what fuels Web content and activity. But certainly, the sands are shifting among key demographics: Tween and Gen-Y behavior is making it a zero-sum game, with television losing the viewership numbers there. With the ad dollars following them and influencing cross-media, I’m wondering if this is the year when the shift from one medium to the other doesn’t truly begin in earnest. The set of possibilities:

- Will we look back at the 2009 Fall/Back-To-School season as the moment when the Web really took over as Americans’ prime media outlet?

- Does TV begin a decade-long transformation, similar to what radio went through in the 1950s, with various shows and other programming migrating online, leaving behind… What? Infomercials and pharmaceutical ads on the boob tube, branding it as something that only “old people” watch?

- Do online ad rates finally scale upward in response, or does the Web’s boundless content keep such monetization permanently in check?

All things to check back in on in, oh, about five years or so.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/26/2009 10:38pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Social Media Online, Society, TV
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I’m sure the Peacock Network intends to squeeze a couple more years of running-on-fumes revenue out of “The Office” before canceling it. Instead of unceremoniously dumping it in mid-stream, here’s how I think the ideal series finale should fade to black:

There’s one last documentary-camera confessional from one of the characters (probably Michael Scott), at which point there’s a pan-out to reveal a TV monitor in some other office, being watched by a couple of suits. Close-up on one of the suits reveals that he’s none other than Ricky Gervais.

Gervais has a dumbfounded look on his face. He turns from the now-dark monitor to face his companion, and says, “That’s it? That’s what we filmed in bloody Pennsylvania, for six bloody years? How are we supposed to make a movie, or a show, out of any of that? It’s all rubbish, innit?”

Closing credits. Goodbye.

Really the only way to play it. Not only does it provide a perfect inside-joke connection with the BBC Britcom original series, it also somewhat salvages the now-untenable premise of a documentary film crew chronicling the Dunder-Mifflin workplace (although that’s been out the window for a while now, unless you believe that the cameraman’s tailing employees on trips to Canada, home dinner parties, etc.). It would also put a nice stake in the heart of the comedy verité milieu that’s been overplayed on American television.

Do the right thing, NBC! And hit me up for my PayPal account info for my creative-consultative fee for this…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/26/2009 12:50pm
Category: Comedy, Creative, TV
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