November 2, 2007

TV Ad Time “Selling Out” at High Scatter Pricing: What to do?

The costs of TV media buys is soaring. How can advertisers adjust their media strategies to maintain effectiveness and ROI?

In these occasional moments of high network ad demand and media pricing, we often see trade articles quoting advertisers and media buyers threatening to move some of their media dollars to other media.

In my experience, however, these words are rarely followed by action to make major shifts in media strategies.

This time may be different, however, because I don’t think this situation is likely to change in the near future and I doubt whether some advertisers will be able, even if willing, to maintain satisfactory ad schedules in TV.

So what is an advertiser who needs to buy TV ad time in the near future to do? I suggest

  1. Analyze the geographic distribution of your sales patterns.
    1. Local Spot TV in key markets, while more expensive on a CPM basis, may afford you heavier media levels than you can buy in network.
    2. Local Spot Radio can offer similar leverage with very low production costs if you use ‘live read’ announcer copy. This can often be a good deal more credible than slickly produced ads. And radio has just as large an audience in the early morning hours as TV has in the evening.
  2. If your product or service is of relatively high interest to your customers and prospects---I’m thinking of such business categories as automobiles, entertainment, travel, etc.---then you can use print media effectively because your readers will want to see what you have to offer.
  3. Want the quick high reach that TV used to offer but can only deliver today with multizillion dollar budgets? Consider
    1. Outdoor especially the new digital OOH venues that deliver a TV-like message to a specific location and audience
    2. Sunday supplements like Parade, what they used to call ‘prime time print’ because they can reach a third of the country in a day.
  4. Multiplatforming newspaper and/or magazines with their respective internet sites and brand-specific microsites along with sponsorship of relevant streaming video.


Bob Glaza said...

Hi Gene - Before I read this post (referred here from David Reich's 2 cents worth) and the one from Monday, I hadn't considered how the writers strike might impact ad buying. If I understand correctly, the "good" ad spots are purchased by those with big bucks? and leaves little positioning for the smaller advertiser? If so, you helped make some sense of it.

And thanks for the glimmer of hope you give to newspapers and their respective websites.

Gene DeWitt said...

You are correct in that the bigger advertisers often get the best ad positions. Smaller advertisers are further disadvantaged during the writers' strike because TV audiences will go down, decreasing the number of ratings available for sale and therefore causing ad rates to inflate further.
I think the combination of print and the web is a very powerful marketing communications recipe often overlooked by TV-centric agencies.
Thanks for your comment.

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