If it proves nothing else, Ford Motor Company’s venture into reality TV proves that at least one U.S. auto maker has money to spend. Ford is teaming up with NBC and an eight-time Emmy -winning reality producer for “Escape Routes,” a prime-time show that will air on Saturday nights on NBC and mun2 beginning March 31.
“Escape Routes” is a broadcast/interactive mashup, that features a cast of six teams of two participating in a road-trip competition with real-world challenges, all the while driving the new Ford Escape.
The Car Connection describes Ford as “not your typical automaker—especially when it comes to media onslaughts.” Car Connection credits Ford with choosing alternatives to splashy trade-show reveals, and with building excitement and anticipation for a new vehicle’s arrival. "Escape Routes" will run for six conescutive weeks and wrap in May, just as the new Escape arrives in dealerships.
“Escape Routes” will air for six consecutive episodes, and will be hosted by reality TV personality Rossi Morreale who has hosted “a variety of network and cable TV programs” (all short lived—do you remember “Belly of the Beast?” “Celebrity Drive-By?” “Temptation?”). The show airs Saturday evenings at 8 P.M./ET on NBC and will also air on mun2, bicultural cable network for young Latino Americans, Saturday nights at 11 P.M./ET. This is the first time Ford will air a series using both a general market broadcast and bilingual cable network.
“Escape Routes” bears some resemblance to the 11-year-old “The Amazing Race,” which is no accident. It is produced by eight-time Emmy Award-winning producer Elise Doganieri, who is also behind “The Amazing Race.” She says of the interactive element, it is “designed to engage viewers throughout the show and encourage them to participate in the challenges…the real-time twist where consumers have the ability to follow their favorite team in the digital space.”
“Escape Routes” pits the six two-person teams (the usual mix of 18-30 year-old hipsters, boffins, model-types and brother/sister teams) against one another in real-world challenges as they arrive in a new city in each episode. The journey begins in Los Angeles before heading to New York, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas/L.A. At each stop, the teams will engage with online followers and “tap into the fabric of the local culture.” Viewers will be able to interact with and compete alongside the six teams throughout their adventures at escaperoutes.com. “Not only will viewers be able to follow along in real time, but followers will have the ability to impact the outcome of the game,” said Donagieri. Fans will be able to talk to the cast, Rossi and the Ford and NBC team behind the program on March 8 at 3:30 P.M. EST via a Google Hangout.
It will be interesting to see how NBC treats the show if it tanks in the ratings. As a prime time infomercial, it is likely to complete its six-show cycle regardless of its ratings draw.
Following 3.8% growth in 2011, global advertising spending is expected to grow by 4.9% in 2012 to $465.5 billion, according to the latest Global Advertising Forecast from Strategy Analytics.
The U.S. ad spend will increase by just 2.7% compared to that global 4.9%. still, that beats 2011’s meager 0.6% growth. The U.S. will trail Europe as well, where ad spending is expected to grow by 3.7% to $136.3 billion in 2012.
Not a bad picture, globally. Ed Barton, Strategy Analytics’ Director of Digital Media Strategies, chalks the gains up to such major global-impact events as—
- The Summer Olympics
- The U.S. presidential elections
- The European Football Championships
- Japan’s continued recovery from the earthquake
Global Advertising by Media Type
Looking at spend by media type reveals that global TV advertising is expected to grow by 5% in 2012 to $188.5 billion, equivalent to 40% of all global spending. Global print advertising is expected to grow by 0.5% to a 26.4% share. Other traditional formats including cinema and radio will grow by approximately 4%.
By contrast, global online advertising is expected to grow 12.8% to $83.2 billion and 18% of global ad spending. Barton says, “Online advertising will continue along its growth trajectory fuelled by strong growth in emerging markets and increased spending volumes on social networking and online video advertising.”
U.S./Europe Advertising by Media Type
Online spending will lead in terms of growth in the US: online is expected to grow by 6.7% this year to $27.4 billion, versus 3.7% for TV and 2.9% for other traditional formats. Print is expected to decline by 1.5%.
In comparison, online advertising across Europe is expected to grow by 11.7% this year compared to 3.4% for TV and 2.4% for ‘other traditional’ advertising. Print is expected to decline by 0.1%.
Still says Barton, the U.S. will continue to lead the world in the share of revenue generated by TV advertising, which this year will be approximately 41% compared to 35% in Europe and 24% in the UK. Internet ad growth lags the world, but, will overtake print ads in 2016, a year ahead of the global market.
One caveat: “The [Eurozone] is one defining incident away from all forecasting outlooks…being rendered irrelevant,” says Barton. One natural disaster or economic collapse could shatter spending in a region of unsustainable national and household fiscal deficits.
A second caveat: this forecast does not include mobile advertising in online advertising. Mobile advertising is forecasted to reach $2.61 billion in the US in 2012, alone, representing 47% growth over 2011. At nearly 10% of the $27.4 billion projected for other online ad spend with its 6.7% projected growth, mobile stacks up very well.
Sunset for Print
As Leika Kawasaki, an analyst at Strategy Analytics's digital media strategies practice told DMNews, “Advertising is moving to online. We see clear online growth over traditional print advertising, which is shrinking in the US.” Kawasaki sees no major shifts in the role of print ads, as the “watershed” has already occurred: the shift of classifieds and locally-targeted campaigns to online advertising.
Thus, “Print spending in newspapers tends to be dominated by retailers looking to drive store traffic,” which too will continue to erode in the U.S. where print readership continues to decline.
While search advertisers experience higher click-through-rates for mobile phone and tablet search campaigns than for desktop search campaigns (at 166% and 137% respectively) according to a November 2011 report from Macquarie Group, those clicks are less likely to convert to sales in a direct relationship to screen size. The report employed Efficient Frontier advertiser data. Efficient Frontier found that mobile conversion rates were at just 31% of the average desktop campaign’s, while tablet conversion rates were much more on par (96%). Meanwhile, the average cost-per-click (CPC) on mobile phone search campaigns was slightly higher (108%) than for desktop search campaigns, although CPCs for tablet campaigns were on average 85% of desktop search campaign CPCs.
Quepasa, the Spanish and Portuguese community site and social gaming operator, will buy teen socnet myYearbook for $100 million. While the first real challenge to Facebook’s social networking hegemony has recently come from Google+, myYearbook and Quepasa have attempted to carve respective niches within the community site sphere, suggesting that the space still has room for relatively smaller players, writes Paid Content. myYearbook claims to have about 25 million users currently—a veritable drop in the bucket to Facebook’s 750 million members.
Addressing investors on a conference call today, Yahoo suggested turmoil among its sales force played a major role in its reduced performance -- down about 5% in Q2. U.S. display revenues were "unexpectedly down," while display revenues in Europe and Asia continued to grow. As a result of its staffing issues the company said much of its premium inventory - typically packaged and sold direct to advertisers and agencies - was instead pushed through its exchange during the quarter, garnering diminished revenues, reports ClickZ News.
Behavioral targeting spending has been growing 20% a year or more for years and is forecast by eMarketer to keep growing at that pace through 2014. In fact, because of the utility of BT, banner ads may surpass search ads in revenues by 2015 after many years of relative decline. The big challenge remains privacy concerns, and the two bills in Congress are looking to limit the data harvesting. Facebook, Google, and also demand-side ad platforms, are affected, according to Forbes.com.
$6.50 of every ten dollars in ad money is being spent on television, according to research from The Nielsen Company, maintaining TV’s status as the top advertising medium -- especially in emerging markets. Global advertising rose 8.8 percent year-over-year in Q1 to total US$ 118 billion based on published rate cards, as advertisers spent more on television and continued to invest in booming consumer Asian and Latin American markets. According to the new Nielsen Global AdView Pulse report, television advertising rose 11.9 percent year-on-year and increased its share among other traditional media (radio, magazines, and newspapers) from 63.5 percent to 65.3 percent in both developed and emerging economies.
ESPN/ABC Sports and TNT stand to lose as much as $1.25 billion in ad sales revenue if the labor dispute disrupts the entire 2011-12 NBA campaign. TheNBA audience has grown in value, with the postseason inventory now accounting for nearly a fifth of the full-season take, writes Ad Week. The NBA last locked out players in the 1998-99 season, shortening the schedule to 50 games, and it took three years before TV ratings returned to prelockout levels, writes Ad Week.
Netflix will expand its streaming service to 43 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean later this year. Members in the region will be able to access Netflix in Spanish, Portuguese or English. The company said that Netflix members from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean will be able to instantly watch an array of American, local and global TV shows and movies on their TVs via consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as on PCs, Macs and mobile devices, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
AMC Networks, the former Rainbow Media, is now separate from former parent Cablevision. Completion of the spin-off gave the new company control of several well known entertainment brands, including AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv, writes Radio Business Report.
- Conan O’Brien’s TBS program, Conan, has fallen behind Chelsea Handler’s E! show, Chelsea Lately, in the rankings of the late-night cable talk shows. According to the latest ratings, Chelsea has pushed Conan out of third place in cable late-night thanks to a major influx of women viewers between 18 and 34, according to Ad Week.