Local TV stations are integrating with advertisers, and extending their coverage and conversations with viewers, through social media, reports Ad Age. The magazine was reporting from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) Transformation Conference in LA, and on a panel called “Socializing Local TV.”
As an example, President Valari Staab of NBC Owned Television Stations described how Facebook helped a local NBC affiliate dominate coverage of Hurricane Irene in its market. Viewers engaged about the hurricane on the affiliate’s Facebook page, which provided enough content and interest that the station’s news broadcast went on-air live at 3 P.M. versus 6 P.M. “We slaughtered our competition on the coverage,” as Staab described.
Local advertisers can benefit from a station’s social extensions, remarked panelist Dunia Shive (president-CEO of Belo Corp., a Dallas-based owner of 20 broadcast stations and two cable stations). Still, Shive believes the connection between advertising and breaking news is tenuous. Belo plans to introduce a mobile streaming product later this year in 32 U.S. markets. " We'll have to see how consumers react to that launch and how content is used, and then build digital-ad opportunities,” said Shive.
Local advertisers will likely latch on, for the lower cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions alone. Local ad spending fell 2.4% in 2012, according to analyst group BIA/Kelsey. The group expects local advertising to bounce back this year, and continue through 2016 with a compound annual growth of 2.6%. BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik told Media Life that “Online/interactive/digital probably wasn't hit as much [in 2011] because it's new and exciting and it tends to be lower-priced CPMs…There's sort of a movement from higher-priced media to lower-priced media.”
The good news, according to Fratrik, is that smaller and medium-sized local businesses can now afford digital and interactive ad vehicles. He raised the example of a plumber in the suburbs who can taret paid search in a 12-mile radius, which newspapers find difficult to do and local TV finds impossible.
“On December 31, 2013, the last of the Baby Boomers will turn 50 years old,” wrote blogger Gary Holmes, “and the most significant generational cohort in history will graduate from the 18-49 TV ratings category,” oft described as “highly prized” or “most coveted.” But, asks Holmes, “With the Boomers moving into a new demographic, isn’t it time for reporters to stop fixating on 18- to 49-year-olds?”
Holmes is a communications consultant in the Greater New York City area, and knows from whenst he speaks. For six years, Holmes was the Nielsen Company’s Chief Press Officer and VP of Communications; and he is in his early 50s. He spoke to us about his blog, which also appears on Media Post.
“I think 18-49 is an outmoded as a catch-all for all reporting. Reporters automatically cite 18 to 49 without thinking ‘Is that really the right demographic for this show? There are plenty of networks that have big audiences who are in the 50 to 65 range, but no one thinks to cite them as a category. They should think more seriously about what’s the more important demo—if they cite one at all. They’d be better off citing the total number of viewers.”
Holmes is skeptical that advertisers are disinterested in consumers 50 and older. As he wrote in his blog, “[They] have far more disposable income than those in their teens and 20s.” The conventional argument is that older people have fixed buying patterns and brand preferences, “so there is no point trying to get them interested in anything other than adult diapers and denture cream once they get into their 50s.” But the Baby Boomers are a generation that is open to new experiences; Holmes himself routinely buys different brands of shaving cream, breakfast cereal and gasoline. They have a few brand preferences, perhaps toothpaste and cola, but are not habitually brand loyal.
Besides which, TV viewers over 50 do buy laptops, cell phones, tablets and digital cameras, none of which were available when the Boomers were young and developing their buying habits. “If ad buyers for these products are discounting older viewers,” Holmes wrote in his blog, “they should be fired.”
What do those older viewers watch? The news, strongly. As Holmes described to us, “The ratings for the Republican debates were four times higher in the 50+ demographic than in the 18 to 49 range. So three quarters of the people watching the debates were over 50, but the media persists in quoting ratings at 18 to 49.” Is that simply a matter of political demographics—that younger people lean toward the Democratic party? Not necessarily. “Older viewers are more apt to watch the news than younger ones,” says Holmes. Thus any broadcast news outlet can have poor ratings in the 18-49 demo, but great ratings in total viewership.
What does Holmes watch, himself? “I watch Mad Men, but also Colbert and The Daily Show, and NBC’s Thursday-night comedies, Modern Family, ESPN. And I have a 20 year-old son, and we watch many of the same shows. Goes to show you.”
- Syfy has renewed Face Off for a 10-episode third season, reports Multichannel News. The competition/elimination show pits special makeup artists against one another, with top Hollywood talent (e.g., Tom Savini of numerous Living Dead movies) as judges. Face Off airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m., and scored 2.5 million viewers for its January 11 Season 2 premiere.
- Black Entertainment Television (BET) has revealed what the LA Times calls an “ambitious development slate.” Among the offerings, a new sitcom from the Wayans family; “Gun Hill,” the channel’s first scripted drama; and projects involving minister T.D. Jakes, comedian-author Steve Harvey,actor Jamie Foxx and TV judge Greg Mathis.are behind various reality projects, including one series that will revamp "Showtime at the Apollo". BET also operates the BET Vertical AdNetwork, targeting the $821 billion buying power of African-Americans.
- Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger announced that ABC has sold out commercial time for this year’s 84th Annual Academy Awards broadcast on February 26. As the LA Times reports, Iger told analysts in an earnings conference call that this is unusually early to have offloaded all inventory, even with a few more spots for the 2012 broadcast than in 2011. ABC took an average $1.7 million per 30-second spot.
- News directors don’t think much of one another’s product revealed a survey by TVNewsCheck. news directors at stations across the U.S. were asked to grade networks on their overall journalistic quality. None received As, though NBC news scored highest, and Fox News Channel (FNC), lowest. Fox News scored highest in conservative bias, and MSNBC on liberal bias. The GPAs listed refer to the “grade point average” scale of 1-4. These figures are way out of whack with public sentiment: FNC just celebrated a decade run as the most watched cable news network, with MSNBC in the #2 slot.
Missouri’s Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is weighing advertising on school buses as a revenue generator. The move would require passing enabling legislation by the Missouri General Assembly, and Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, has filed that bill.
Keith Asel, a regional bank president and member of an education funding subcommittee, told the Lee’s Summit Journal that “Seventeen states currently permit advertising on school buses,” with a typical revenue of between $2,500 and $5,000 per bus per year. The Colorado Springs, Colo. school district generates $40,000 a year from bus ads, but Summit R-7 expects to generate $3,750 from each of 147 buses, for around $550,000 per year.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation a year ago, joining Arizona, Colorado, new Mexico, Tennessee and Texas, among other states that allow advertising. Alpha Media President Michael Beauchamp at the time told USA Today that his firm managed advertising on 3,000 school buses in 27 districts in Texas and Arizona. The firm and school districts generally avoided "beer, tobacco, politics, churches, anything sexual in nature." The Medford, N.J., school board policy prohibits bars, drug companies and religious organizations. As Asel observed, likely advertisers for Lee’s Summit are bank or insurance companies supporting education, with image ads.
Still, it’s a “lousy way to raise money,” complains Director Susan Linn of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood. Advertising in schools and on school property “undermines parents who are trying to limit commercialism” in a child’s life. And she points out that the $40,000 Colorado Springs pulls in amounts to less than $1 a student, and falls far short of expectations. Still—$40,000 is a bargain for outdoor advertisers and a boon to a school district.
Ask a publisher, ad agency or third-party measurement service for a tally of impressions, and chances are the numbers will not match. The discrepancy boils down to the ad server and measurements the organization uses, a panel of experts told AdExchanger.com. Even if they are within 5%, “I’m not willing to lose 5% extra revenue because of the agency’s choice of ad server,” said Jay Wright, Yield Management Group Leader at Cars.com, an online marketplace. AdExchanger posed the question "What's your take on trends you're seeing with discrepancies in ad delivery reporting today?" the responses boiled down, largely, to “Who is measuring?”
Mitchell Weinstein, director of ad operations at media agency Universal McCann, believes discrepancies stem from using multiple ad servers on a single campaign; one server handles rich media while another handles video, for example. So, “It’s important to identify up front where…billing numbers will come from.” Weinstein hastens to add that revised Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) guidelines of December 2009 did away with far greater discrepancies.
Wright of Cars.com also observes improvement, but still a lack of precision, which can cost a publisher. Cars.com found that some 3rd party servers can routinely return discrepancies of up to 7% between the publisher and ad advertisers’ measurements. Wright is in favor of paying on first-party numbers—picking one measure (perhaps the publisher’s or the advertiser’s) and paying on it; or, have a rate card based on an agency’s choice of server.
While discrepancies are improving with technology, “There still exists a fundamental difference in who’s counting an impression when,” said Daniel Davies, director, US ad operations for Adnetik. The Adnetik technology compiles and resolves data between exchanges, ad networks and publisher sites. “What we sometimes end up with is a handful of varying snapshots, all taken of the same thing, but at slightly different times,” and the number of entities making those measurements grows yearly. Davies sums up the solution very well for most of the panelists: technology and standardization have to keep pace. Davies observes that “computing muscle and stamina backing digital advertising” is keeping the discrepancies from growing in pace with the number of digital ad outlets . That number will not keep growing; it is the responsibility of the industry to find technology that keeps pace.
Consumers may be confused about 4G and hesitant to move to 4G, at least in the near term, according to a recent Retrevo Gadgetology study. The survey found that a little less than a quarter of the respondents responded with certainty about the upgrade to 4G. 22% of people don't think 4G performance is worth the cost. 30% of people think the 4G data plan costs too much.
As well, 34% of iPhone owners have the impression that they already own a 4G phone; however, Apple doesn’t offer a 4G phone at the moment. BlackBerry owners -- 24% of respondents -- are also confused since RIM doesn’t currently offer a 4G phone.
- Strong auto sales helped Sirius XM Satellite radio added 373,064 subscribers in Q1, reports paidcontent.org, bringing its total listener base to an all-time high of 20.6 million people. But worries about the series of disasters in Japan have caused the company to express some uncertainty about the drive for higher subscriber numbers for the rest of the year.
- Borrell Associates has released Benchmarking Local Online Media, A 2010 Revenue Survey. The report concludes the economic downturn over the past three years has forged a new landscape for local online media, but paints a less than stellar picture for radio: "Radio stations continued to deliver lackluster performance in Internet sales. Outside of local cable companies and magazines, radio performed the worst among all legacy media companies. It captured $282 million, or 2.1% of all local online advertising spent in 2010." Allaccess.com has more details here.