Posts Tagged ‘television’

Will NBC get Late Night Right?

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, the world watched as NBC’s late night fiasco turned a page. Conan is out, Jay is back and I think NBC redefined the term “between a rock and a hard place”. Hopefully the NBC media research group adjusted the projections methodology they used to estimate its Late Night lineup for Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

But did NBC get this right? Will Jay Leno deliver better performance and ratings than Conan O’Brien would have in the same time slot? My guess: No.

Conan’s audience was significantly younger than Jay’s audience. Younger audiences consume more media from more devices (through TV, TiVo, on the internet, mobile phones, Kindles, Tablets and more). By going with Jay Leno, NBC sticks with what they know works – broadcast television and conventional business thinking. But in just 5 years from now, the Late Show will probably be available on any and every screen (or device) you can think of. Conan’s younger audiences would have used their iPhones to watch more NBC content, Blackberries to download more NBC downloads and any other device to simply connect more to the NBC brand than compared to Jay’s older, more broadcast-based audience.

The TV viewing experience has moved to the web and ratings on television are no longer an adequate measure of performance. New media and new devices have changed all that. Just this week, Variety reported on Nielson’s plan to finally combine online and television video ratings in a single “extended screen” rating system. I wonder if this type of metric was even a consideration for NBC when they broke Conan’s contract two weeks ago.

What do you think? Is NBC’s decision going to pay off? Feel free to drop your comments about online television too…

We all Lose in Cable vs. Broadcast

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I just received my monthly cable bill, and on it the company indicated that they were raising the fees for my cable TV service. Ridiculous! Not because I care about the $4 increase, but because cable TV service providers have refused to pay for the content they distribute for profit, and that has become my problem!?

It’s not right that service providers are passing the new costs on to us and disguising the fee as a “tax”. They are choosing to take no responsibility in the well being of the Canadian television industry.

What do you think? Should cable companies be forced to share in the cost with viewers?

Local TV Matters website

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We Can All Learn Something from iTunes

May 29, 2009 Leave a comment

On Thursday (May 28, 2009), American networks like ABC, Fox, NBC and WB made 20 of their TV series available on the iTunes Canada store. Now Canadians can download favorites like Grey’s Anatomy, House and many more for $2.50 – $3.50 per ep. This is great news for Canada because U.S. based websites like or are not allowed to serve their free video content to Canadians (as part of their contractual content distribution rights).

FACT: Canada has the highest online video penetration of the five countries comScore tracks (Canada 88%, France 82%, Germany 82%, U.K. 81%, U.S. 76%).

Think of the one or two early adopters you probably know who like to show off their media servers and web connected home theatre systems whenever you come over for a visit. I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that we will, in the very near future begin to see mass acceptance of web enabled television. This is when viewers will actually be able to interact with broadcast and advertising content via the internet on a single screen, in the comfort of their living room. To put it all in context: You (yes you!) will be able to sit down in your living room, turn on your TV, visit the iTunes Canada store to download The Office in hi-def, store the episode on your hard drive and watch it whenever you are ready, in Dolby 5.1 surround sounds (of course). This is happening now and will acceptance will continue to accelerate.

I think that Canadian cable companies resisting broadcasters’ requests for ‘fee-for-carriage’ can learn a thing or two from iTunes and the inevitable world of web enabled television. In an industry where audiences are becoming increasingly empowered to get what they want, distributors have a responsibility to cooperate so that everyone wins. If ABC is able to cooperate with iTunes in terms of distributing Grey’s Anatomy, why isn’t it working for CTV and Shaw or Global and Videotron?

What do you think? Leave your comments here.

The 30-second TV Commercial is NOT dead!

March 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The television ad business is going through a major transition (along with everything else). If you’re in the biz, you’ve probably heard someone criticize “display advertising” (ads that simply run adjacent to content), of which the 30-second TV commercial is King. It’s the foundation for the ad business – more expensive to buy, produce and maintain than any other medium. But as recordable TV and broadband video become more widely accepted, the 30-second format is increasingly being cut / questioned by media planners and ad critics.

I work in national ad sales and can imagine what it must be like for my clients. Picture this – your firm spends $30,000 on 30-seconds of national commercial airtime (very cheap) plus $50k to produce a slick spot with all the right stuff (talent, voiceover, post production, talking fish, etc). You’re sitting at home watching 24 and your commercial comes on. But before you can say “hey, I paid for that”, your buddy grabs the remote and effortlessly fast forwards over your hard work and money. Ouch.

Online, it is a VERY different story. When you watch video online, one advertiser’s commercial is shown preceding the content you’re about to watch. You can’t fast forward or skip it. The client’s creative is left in tact, in its entirety. And I know that as a viewer myself, I gladly sit through video pre-rolls with no complaints. Why? Because I’VE ASKED to watch the content I’m about to receive on MY OWN time and I think it’s reasonable to watch 30-seconds of paid material for 24 minutes of free entertainment.

To all the media planners out there: Are your clients complaining about the impact of their 30-sec TVC?
Here’s the answer: ONLINE VIDEO PRE-ROLLS.

Things to consider with VPRs:
> SOV: It’s a new format and achieving high share of voice is easy as a first mover.
> IMPACT: With only one ad to watch per video, viewers are willing to pay more attention.
> TARGETING: Online, you can easily isolate by time, region or daypart (on television this is not so).
> FLEXIBILTY: VPRs are available in 7-sec, 15-sec or 30-sec formats.

So is the 30-second spot dead? NO. It’s just evolving with the technology that delivers it to the audience.

*** Let me close with a shout out to Jaffe’s book “Life After the 30-Second Spot” – I have not read it yet but look forward to getting to it. I’m sure his insight on this topic is far more expansive.