TV just exploded

TV just exploded

: The inevitable just happened: The broadcast networks earned less in upfront (preseason) ad buying this year than last year. That’s a big deal. It’s not a cycle. It’s an explosion. Mark this date as the day TV exploded and the mass market went pfffft with it.

It had to happen. Year after year, network audiences declined, yet ad rates and buying went up: Marketers were paying more for less (and I thought only cable customers did that). The delta between those two lines on a chart is a measure of advertisers’ inability to change or worse. But now that has changed.

It’s all downhill from here. Oh, this doesn’t mean that broadcast is dead. But it will not grow again. It will shrink. Ditto other big, old media outlets. And with that, the media industry will change as it is forced to find new ways to produce lower-cost programming and as advertisers are forced to abandon easy mass-market buying in favor of putting together ad hoc, targeted, and more efficient networks in more measurable media, including media created by people outside media companies (aka you). The dollars will flee to online and its many media at a higher, faster rate than audience declines on the networks as advertisers finally begin to value online appropriately (though online is a scarcity killer with unlimited content and traffic and that will depress rates).

Media Post reports:

Verklin implied the shifts were not merely a function of a cyclical weakness in the TV ad marketplace, but part of a fundamental realignment of marketing priorities, and the way marketers and agencies look at television in their media mix.

And the Wall Street Journal says (not a free link):

The decline appears to signal that, after years of debate about the effectiveness of TV ads, advertisers finally are cutting back on their spending….

This year’s decline appears to relate more to questions about the effectiveness of traditional TV commercials. Debate about traditional advertising has risen in recent years as digital video recorders have made it easier for viewers to zap through ads and as people have spent more time on the Internet and playing videogames….

Advertisers for years have believed broadcast television offered the biggest bang for the buck, with millions of viewers tuned in to a single program. In a world where people can easily zap through ads, advertisers increasingly are interested in marketing avenues that capture more of consumers’ attention, including the Internet.