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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    It’s been the mass medium of choice for the past half-century-plus. So it’s only appropriate that TV is now showing its age, demographically: The median age for viewers at [CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox] is now 51. The broadcasters’ audience…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 08/16/2010 @ 11:35 PM

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